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Sometimes, people don't really say what they're really thinking. When you capture the right moment, it says more.

–Jonathan, November 11, 1983


Jonathan Byers, portrayed by starring cast member Charlie Heaton, is a major character in Stranger Things. He is the older brother of Will Byers. His life was turned upside down following the disappearance of his younger brother.

In 1983, when Jonathan's younger brother, Will went missing due Jonathan working late, he and his mother searched for him with the help of Chief Hopper and the police. However, when Hawkins National Laboratory faked Will's "death," Jonathan's relationship with his mother became strained who had insisted that Will was actually alive and was communicating with her. Jonathan soon realized his mother was telling the truth, due to meeting Nancy Wheeler who also have claimed to see the "monster" that Jonathan's mother had seen when trying to reach Will. Jonathan apologized and reconciled with his mother and worked with Nancy in fighting the monster with the help of Jonathan's former tormentor, Steve Harrington. After Will's rescue, Jonathan was reunited with him and celebrated Christmas with his family.

A year later, in 1984, Jonathan struggled to help his traumatized brother and get used to his mother's boyfriend, Bob Newby. Jonathan later assists in helping Nancy exposing Hawkins Lab as a threat following the laboratory responsible for the death of Barb and the disappearance of his younger brother. Towards the end, Jonathan helps his mother and Nancy into freeing Will from the Mind Flayer. A month later, during the Snow Ball, Jonathan started a relationship with Nancy.

In 1985, Jonathan has become Nancy's official boyfriend as the two start working together at the Hawkins Post. However, Jonathan struggled to be loyal to his girlfriend and job, as the other employees at the Post belittled Nancy for wanting to be a journalist, due to her gender. When Nancy stumbled onto a story involving "diseased rats," Jonathan helped Nancy pursue the story, but after the story was dismissed, Jonathan reluctantly helped Nancy get more evidence, only for the two to get fired and putting a strain to their relationship. When Nancy discovered that the rats and their acquaintance Mrs. Driscoll's strange behavior was linked to Will's possession from last year, Jonathan teamed with Nancy and worked with Will and his friends into stopping the Mind Flayer who had returned to Hawkins. In the process, Jonathan and Nancy manage to reconcile and protect the kids from the Mind Flayer. Three months later, after the Mind Flayer's defeat, Jonathan says goodbye to Nancy as he and his family move out of Hawkins.

History

Main article: Jonathan Byers/History

Personality

Jonathan is smart, introverted, asocial, kind, independent, and brave. He has a fondness for photography and music. Despite being a small-town boy, according to Joyce, he wants to go to college at New York University. He has a strong bond with his family and is implied to have a soft spot for animals, as he cried for a week after his tenth birthday when his father forced him to kill a rabbit on a hunting trip.

In 1984, Jonathan's personality managed to change a little bit. He became protective of Will, but not as much as his mother. He even encouraged Will to not let his differences bother him and that it's okay to be different not matter what. Jonathan tries to be by his brother's side despite it being difficult as Jonathan noted that Will has changed a lot since his time in the Upside Down. Jonathan was also not too happy with his mother's relationship with Bob Newby as both he and Joyce suffered from constant verbal abuse from his father than Will ever did. Jonathan also became friends with Steve Harrington and was on good terms with him. Jonathan also developed feelings for Nancy Wheeler who shared his trauma, but struggled to accept them until he was encouraged by Murray Bauman. And by a month later, Jonathan was happy to start a relationship with Nancy.

Relationships

Familial

Jonathan had a complicated relationship with his father, Lonnie. When Johnathan was young, Lonnie made him kill a rabbit which left Jonathan crying for a week. When Lonnie divorced his mother, Jonathan grew to despise his father and was forced to become a father figure towards his younger brother, Will. Lonnie, on the other hand, did not seem to care about Jonathan's feelings despite having average conversations with him, such as brushing off Jonathan's concerns about Will's disappearance, ordering him to take down one of his bedroom posters, and ignoring the fact that Jonathan wanted to go to New York University since he was six years old. When Jonathan met with Murray Bauman with Nancy Wheeler to expose Hawkins National Laboratory, Jonathan confirmed that Lonnie was an asshole, showing his ill will towards his father.

Though Joyce deeply cared for her eldest son just as she did for Will, she felt guilty that she had been unable to support him more, due to her time-consuming job. Joyce admitted to Jonathan that "I hardly know what's going on with you". After Will vanished, Joyce's sanity was tested, and in turn so was the relationship between her and her remaining son. However, Jonathan does care for his mother greatly, going as far as fighting Steve for insulting her and Will. When Jonathan realized that his mother was telling the truth about Will being alive, he apologized and the two reconciled, where they managed to reunite with Will after his rescue from the Upside Down. 

Will saw Jonathan as a role model, who in some ways was like a substitute father figure to him. They would often listen to music together, and Jonathan even made him two mixtapes. Jonathan also helped him build Castle Byers, in the pouring rain and all night. Jonathan would also defend Will from Lonnie, who didn't approve of his interests.

After Will vanished, Jonathan, like his mother, became desperate to find him. Upon waking in the hospital, one of the first things Will did was to ask Jonathan about his injured hand; they clearly greatly cared about each other's well-being. It could also be said that Jonathan is protective over Will. He fought Steve for mocking Will when his younger brother was thought to be dead, and he became heartbroken and got sick upon seeing his brother's "body." However, when Jonathan realized that Will was alive, he did everything he could to find to him and eventually apologized to their mother for not believing her. When Jonathan reunited with Will at the hospital, Jonathan was happy and a little surprised that Will was concerned for his injured hand.

In 1984, Jonathan became overprotective of Will, but not as much as their mother. He tries to be there for Will, despite his behavior changes. When Will revealed he was tired of everyone being so careful with him and is upset over being different, Jonathan cheers him up by telling him to accept his differences no matter what people say. When Jonathan returned to Hawkins with Nancy and learned of Will's possession, he stayed by his younger brother's side and apologized over and over, saying he should have been there with him. He helped burn the Mind Flayer out of Will although he was genuinely concerned until the Mind Flayer managed to leave Will's body. Once Will was free, Jonathan embraced Will, along with their mother.

Non-Familial

Nancy and Jonathan spoke to each other when Will went missing, with Nancy reassuring him that Will's going to be fine. Jonathan took pictures of Nancy during a party at the Harrington House and when Nancy found out, she did not hold any resentment towards Jonathan. When Nancy asked for his help in looking for her friend Barbara Holland, Jonathan accepted. The two began to bond over their mutual goal of finding their brother and friend respectively and become close. After discovering Barbara had been killed, Jonathan comforted Nancy and the two worked together in trying to kill the Demogorgon. A month later, after Will's rescue, Jonathan was given a Christmas present from Nancy and was upset on getting Nancy nothing, but Nancy told him it didn't matter and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

In 1984, Jonathan continues to have a bond with Nancy as she invited him to Tina's Halloween Party. Though Jonathan planned to go trick-or-treating with his brother, he decided to go the party. After Nancy got drunk and hurt Steve's feelings, Jonathan took Nancy home and told her what happened the next day. Jonathan helped Nancy in exposing Hawkins Lab to investigator Murray Bauman and the two give into the sexual tension after being pressured by Murray and ultimately kiss (and are hinted at doing more). They later work together in burning the Mind Flayer out of Will. And at the end, while at the Snow Ball, Nancy and Jonathan have started a relationship.

In 1985, Jonathan and Nancy are shown to have become an official couple, sleeping together at Jonathan's house one day. The two also work together at the Hawkins Post.

During most of the first season, Jonathan had an antagonistic relationship with Steve, who viewed him as an outcast. When Steve found out Jonathan had taken photographs of the pool party, including a candid photo of Nancy, he labeled Jonathan a pervert and broke his camera in retaliation. Following a misunderstanding, he believed Nancy was cheating on him with Jonathan, causing Steve to lash out at him. This resulted in a fist fight between the two, which ended with Jonathan getting arrested and Steve with a wounded face. After realizing he was in the wrong, Steve decided to go to the Byers’ house in order to apologize to Jonathan, resulting in him inadvertently helping with fighting the Demogorgon. In the epilogue of the season finale, taking place a month later, Steve and Jonathan were shown to be on good terms.

A year later, in 1984, Steve and Jonathan were shown to still get along. After Steve had his feelings hurt by a drunk Nancy during a Halloween party, Steve asked Jonathan to take Nancy home, which Jonathan agreed to after seeing how upset Steve was. When Steve found out that Nancy had feelings for Jonathan, he accepted them and supported the two in getting together.

In 1985, Jonathan was still on friendly terms with Steve as Steve finally got over Nancy. The two worked as a team to protect the Party from the Mind Flayer.

Tommy and Carol were bullies of Jonathan. They picked on Jonathan after Will's disappearance and helped Steve destroy Jonathan's camera after they realized Jonathan took pictures of them during the party at Steve's house. When Steve assumed Nancy cheated on him after seeing her with Jonathan, Tommy and Carol wasted no time in making abusive graffiti of Jonathan and Nancy. After Jonathan and Steve's fight, resulting in Jonathan's arrest, Tommy and Carol continued to bully and laugh at Jonathan and how angry he was during his fight with Steve and how he's in jail. Unfortunately, this caused Steve to disown Tommy and Carol as his friends and to make amends with Jonathan and Nancy for their cruelty.

A year later, Tommy and Carol don't interact with Jonathan, but Tommy still makes fun of Jonathan as he taunted Steve on how Jonathan and Nancy have been skipping class together lately.

In 1984, Jonathan met Murray Bauman when arriving at his warehouse with Nancy to confess that Hawkins Lab was responsible for the death of Nancy's best friend, Barbara Holland. After working together to make Dr. Owens's recorded confession sound like a chemical spill killed Barbara, Murray noticed Jonathan's feelings for Nancy and encouraged him to embrace them, which he did. The next day, Murray asked Jonathan how was the "pull-out," causing Jonathan to choke up on his drink, confirming Murray's suspicions that Jonathan and Nancy slept together. In 1985, Murray still was on good terms with Jonathan as he gave him and Nancy the keys to his house so they and the kids can be safe from the Mind Flayer.

Jonathan was hired by Tom Holloway to be a photographer for the Hawkins Post. Jonathan was not treated with disdain by Tom or any of his other co-workers as they focused their bullying on Nancy for being the only female journalist at the Post. Jonathan hated the way Tom and his co-workers were treating his girlfriend, but he didn't do anything about it as he feared it get him fired as Jonathan wanted to help support his family. However, Jonathan helped Nancy investigate Mrs. Driscoll's story about "diseased rats." When Tom did not approve the story and Nancy decided to get more evidence, Jonathan reluctantly went along with her to help. However, when Tom found out that Jonathan helped Nancy look for proof for Mrs. Driscoll's rat story, he fired Jonathan as a result. This left Jonathan upset on losing his job and his means to support his family, nearly damaging his relationship with Nancy. When Jonathan and Nancy learned about the Flayed, along with the kids, and tried to visit Mrs. Driscoll at the hospital, Tom, possessed by the Mind Flayer, tried to kill Jonathan and Nancy, with the help of Bruce Lowe. Tom fought Jonathan and nearly killed him with scissors until he felt Bruce's pain of getting hit by a fire hydrant by Nancy. This allowed Jonathan to kill Tom by stabbing him in the neck with the scissors. After Tom's and Bruce's bodies melted away to form a monster, it was stopped by Eleven from killing Jonathan's girlfriend, Nancy, where it left to become part of the Mind Flayer's avatar.

Appearances

Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down
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

Comics

Volume 1 appearances
Issue 1 Issue 2 Issue 3 Issue 4

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Joyce Byers Family Tree icon 001
Joyce Byers
 
Lonnie Byers Family Tree icon 001
Lonnie Byers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jonathan Byers FamilyTree icon 001
Jonathan Byers
 
Will Byerd Family Tree icon 001
Will Byers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Memorable Quotes

Jonathan:

  • "Sometimes, people don't really say what they're really thinking. When you capture the right moment, it says more."
  • "I saw this girl, you know, trying to be someone else. But for that moment it was like you were alone."

Jonathan to Will:

  • "Do you remember the day dad left? We stayed all night building Castle Byers, just the way you drew it."
  • "You shouldn't like things because people tell you you're supposed to."

Trivia

  • Jonathan has two posters in his bedroom - one is for the 1981 film "The Evil Dead", while the other is a mashup featuring both David Bowie's persona "Ziggy Stardust" and late 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud.
  • Jonathan drives a 1971 Ford Galaxie 500.
  • It is unclear where Jonathan worked in Season One as he had a co-worker named Eric before he started working at the Hawkins Post in Season Three.
  • Jonathan is a fan of Thumper from Disney's Bambi.
  • Jonathan's family had a dog.
  • The college Jonathan wants to attend to, New York University, or NYU is a private nonprofit research university.
  • In the Hawkins High School Yearbook, his Career Goal is Rock Photography.

Gallery

View Gallery For this subject's gallery, see Jonathan Byers/Gallery.


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