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"Don't take it so personally, okay? I don't like most people."

–Jonathan, November 11, 1983

Jonathan Byers, portrayed by Charlie Heaton, is a main character in Stranger Things. He is the oldest son of Joyce Byers, the older brother of Will Byers, the eventual boyfriend of Nancy Wheeler, and the best friend of Argyle.

In the fall of 1983, Jonathan's younger brother, Will, vanished without a trace due to Jonathan working late. Will's disappearance made Jonathan guilt-ridden for not being there and would soon take a toll on his relationship with his mother, who insisted Will was trapped in the walls and taken by a monster with no face. Jonathan dismissed Joyce's claims as a sign of a mental breakdown and took it upon himself to take care of the funeral arrangements upon Will's "body" being recovered from the town quarry. However, he realizes his mother was telling the truth after his classmate, Nancy Wheeler, began claiming her best friend was also taken by said monster. After reconciling with his mother, Nancy and Jonathan turned the Byers home into a booby trap to lure and kill the monster. With the help of Jonathan's former bully and Nancy's boyfriend, Steve Harrington, the trio lit the monster on fire until is vanished. Soon after, Will was rescued from the dimension and was reunited with his brother and mother.

In the fall of 1984, Jonathan struggled to both see the appeal in his mother's boyfriend, Bob Newby, and comfort his traumatized brother. After seeing Nancy struggling to keep secret of the government agents responsible for Barbara's death, Jonathan bans together with her to expose Hawkins Lab alongside journalist Murray Bauman. In the process, the two slowly begin to embrace their romantic feelings for another. Returning home, Jonathan and Nancy assist Joyce in freeing a possessed Will from a demon known as the Mind Flayer. A month later, Nancy and Jonathan have now become an official couple.

In the summer of 1985, Jonathan and Nancy have gotten summer jobs as interns for the Hawkins Post. Jonathan tried his best to comfort Nancy, who was subjugated to sexism by their co-workers, but believed that pursuing a story about "diseased rats" wouldn't prove anything and would only get them in trouble. Despite this, he reluctantly joined his girlfriend in investigating Mrs. Dricoll's claims that sick rats are eating fertilizer, only to get fired by their boss, Tom Holloway. This puts a strain on Nancy and Jonathan's relationship, as Jonathan angrily tells her that she doesn't understand how important a job is to his family compared to Nancy, who is very privileged. The next day, however, Nancy calls Jonathan to tell him that the rats are connected to the demon that possessed Will, causing him to join her and their siblings to defeat the Mind Flayer once again. During this, Jonathan profusely apologizes to Nancy, and they reconcile. Three months after killing the Mind Flayer, Jonathan moves out of Hawkins with his family, and tearfully says goodbye to Nancy.

In the spring of 1986, Jonathan resided in Lenora Hills, California, where he began to smoke weed alongside his new best friend, Argyle, due to stress about college. He and Nancy agreed to both attend Emerson College in Massachusetts despite his acceptance putting him in financial debt. Jonathan reveals to Argyle he got accepted to Lenora Hills Community College and is struggling to break the news to Nancy, saying he doesn't want her to follow him and ruin her life while also not wanting to go to Emerson to chase a dream that isn't his.

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.

In 1985, Jonathan had become a devoted boyfriend to Nancy as he was willing to help and take care of her while they both worked at the Hawkins Post. Jonathan disapproved of how his co-workers treated Nancy and always comforted after she was insulted while trying to stay loyal to his job. Jonathan was even willing to assist Nancy in gaining respect from their co-workers, but when Nancy started to go through such lengths to earn the approval she believed she deserved, Jonathan became reluctant and worried that Nancy was not making the right decisions. When Nancy's determination led to the both of them getting fired, Jonathan angrily blamed Nancy for costing him his job and means to support his family, thus putting a strain on his relationship with her. However, when informed that the Mind Flayer had returned to Hawkins and that both of their brothers could be danger, Jonathan did not hesitant to work with Nancy to protect their brothers and friends while stopping the Mind Flayer. This allowed Jonathan make amends with Nancy for not fully supporting her and for Nancy to apologize for criticizing him, as the two rekindled their relationship.

In 1986, Jonathan displays a more carefree personality especially around his best friend Argyle. He also shows doubt in his relationship with Nancy, thinking a long-distance one will not work out. Despite this, he isn't willing to tell her likely because he doesn't know how to.

Abilities

  • Intelligence: Jonathan is shown to have an above-average level of intellect in planning out strategies, options, and tactics in desperate situations. When his brother went missing, he went in the woods to find any clues by taking photos of everything unusual he found and when Nancy asked for his help about her friend Barbra going missing after he edited her picture and saw that the creature known as the Demogorgon took her and Will into the Upside Down and planned to go after it. He used a map to mark all known areas the monster travels and knew it’s next current location then on the day after, Both he and Nancy went to a hunter store for tools and supplies to as a trap to destroy the Demogorgon in his house and took his mother’s advice that when the lights go off it would arrive, then when it got caught in the bear trap they set it on fire as their tactic which worked.
  • Expert Photographer: As a hobby Jonathan is an excellent camera photographer as he prefers to observe people instead of talking to them for he said when he captures the right moments, he could read them better. He snooks in the woods near Steve Harrington‘s and takes multiple photographs of everyone in the pool, Nancy and Steve were in his bedroom, including Barbra near the pool alone then edited all of them in perfect shape. He managed to get great pictures at a virus carrying rat before it exploded by the Mind Flayer.
  • Skilled Investigator: Jonathan is very skilled, in doing detective work. He was capable to reconstruct a crime scene in Heather’s house by mind looking at the blood, chemicals, and materials around the scene of everywhere.
  • Craftsmanship: When getting in preparation for setting up a trap for the Demogorgon, he took nails and hammered them to a baseball bat creating a spiked melee weapon to use against it with ease.
  • Gunmanship: He has basic proficiency in wielding a firearm, as he used to go hunting with his father when he was 10 and shot a rabbit as his first kill.
  • Combatant: Jonathan is very skilled in using his bare fists in fighting against opponents in close combat. He demonstrated this ability when being provoked by Steve and punched him in his face, hits him harder after getting attacked a few times which caused him a concussion, and placed scares/bruises to his face.
  • Melee Weapon Proficiency: Jonathan is capable to wield melee weapons, any weapon used in direct hand-to-hand close-quarter combat just by putting his hands on ranging blunt, edged, or pointed materials. He quickly grabbed a flower vase to bash against Tom’s face which also affected Ben, then a pair of scissors to stab it in Tom’s neck lethality killing both them due to being Flayed by the Mind Flayer. And he was able to pierce through the Mind Flayer skin with an Axe with ease.

Relationships

Familial

Jonathan had a complicated relationship with his father, Lonnie. When Jonathan 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.

In 1984, Jonathan continued to have a good relationship with his mother as they both became protective of Will (though Jonathan was less protective of Will than his mother). However, Jonathan did not support his mother's relationship with Bob Newby as he did not understand what she saw in him. After discovering Will's possession of the Mind Flayer, Jonathan worked with his mother to free Will from the Mind Flayer by burning it out of him. When putting Will under so much heat did not work, Jonathan begged his mother to stop the process and nearly freed Will until Nancy stopped him by showing the Mind Flayer developing black veins on Will's neck. When a possessed Will started to strangle Joyce, Jonathan tried to save his mother before she was saved when Nancy burnt Will. After Will was freed from the Mind Flayer, Jonathan embraced both his mother and brother. A month later, Jonathan playfully used a video camera to record his mother and Will practice dancing for the Snow Ball.

In 1985, Joyce seemed happy for Jonathan when he has a girlfriend. She wiped the lipstick of his cheek and doesn’t seem to mind that Nancy spent the night with him. When she heard that her kids are in danger, she, Hopper, Murray and Alexei raced back to Hawkins to save them. Jonathan was put in charge by his mother to take care of Will. After the event, Jonathan moved out of Hawkins with his mother and brother.

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. A month later, Jonathan jokingly records Will and Joyce dancing playfully for the Snow Ball.

In 1985, Jonathan continues to have a good relationship with his brother, even though Will expresses his disgust with Jonathan being in a relationship with Nancy while Joyce said it'll be different when he falls in love. When Nancy discovers Mrs. Driscoll's behavior in the hospital is near identical to Will last year, she calls Jonathan and asks if Will is safe, causing Jonathan to become worried and demands why wouldn't Will be safe before the two work together with the Party. While the kids battle the Mind Flayer, Jonathan protects Will as he was told by their mother to listen to him. In October, Will and Jonathan drive together as they (and Joyce with Eleven) move out of Hawkins, where they are silently driving together.

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. Whenever Nancy was abused or humiliated by her misogynistic co-workers, Jonathan did his best to support and comfort her. When Nancy picked up a story from Doris Driscoll, Jonathan went with her to investigate the story and present it to the Post. However, after the story was rejected which left Nancy cruelly insulted, she ignored Jonathan's attempts to comfort her. When Nancy decided to get more evidence for the story, Jonathan was reluctant to do so, but went along with her in order to support his girlfriend. When they discovered Mrs. Driscoll consuming fertilizer, this lead to them getting fired from the Post and straining their relationship, with Jonathan angry over losing his means to support his family and blaming Nancy for it, causing Nancy to accuse him of being like her tormentors.

When Jonathan got a call from Nancy early the next day, he did not want to speak to Nancy at first, but Nancy informed him of the Mind Flayer's return due to Mrs. Driscoll being possessed and that Will could be in danger. This convinced Jonathan to work with Nancy and the kids on stopping the Mind Flayer. Later, while going to get Mrs. Driscoll at the Hawkins Memorial Hospital so she can lead them to the Mind Flayer's hideout, Jonathan reconciled with Nancy. When they were attacked by a Flayed Tom and Bruce, Jonathan and Nancy did their best to protect each other. Once the melted corpses of Tom and Bruce merged into a monster, Jonathan tried to save Nancy when it attacked her before the Party came to her rescue. Before joining the kids to catch up with the monster, Jonathan checked on Nancy and made sure she was not hurt. Once the Mind Flayer's plot was unraveled, Jonathan and Nancy worked together in protecting the children from the Mind Flayer's avatar until its defeat. Three months later, before moving out of Hawkins, Jonathan consoled a saddened Nancy and said good-bye to her before sharing a hug and a kiss with her.

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, Steve believed Nancy was cheating on him with Jonathan. When Jonathan and Nancy confront him, Steve begins to brutally bully him about his home life, his mother, and his brother's "death" until Jonathan's rage consumes him and beats Steve to the ground. This resulted in a fist fight between the two, which ended with Jonathan getting arrested and Steve with a wounded face. After realizing his horrible deeds, Steve decided to go to the Byers’ house in order to apologize to Jonathan, resulting in him inadvertently helping with fighting the Demogorgon. A month later, Steve and Jonathan were shown to be on good terms as Steve gave Jonathan a new camera.

A year later, in 1984, Steve and Jonathan were shown to still get along and were on good terms with one another. 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
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

Comics

Volume 1 appearances
Issue 1 Issue 2 Issue 3 Issue 4
Video Game Appearances
Stranger Things 3: The Game
Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

Family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Joyce Byers Family Tree icon 001.png
Joyce Byers
 
Lonnie Byers Family Tree icon 001.png
Lonnie Byers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jonathan Byers FamilyTree icon 001.png
Jonathan Byers
 
Will Byerd Family Tree icon 001.png
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."

Gallery

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


Trivia

  • Jonathan drives a 1971 Ford Galaxie 500.
  • In the first season, Jonathan failed to make sure Will came home the night he disappeared because he was working late. While his job is never stated in the series, the Montauk bible states that he worked at the town's movie theatre. It can be assumed he quit this job following the first season, as it's never mentioned in the second season and he begins working as an intern at the Hawkins Post in the third season.
  • Jonathan is a fan of Thumper from Disney's Bambi.
  • Jonathan has desired to attend New York University (NYU) since he was six years old.
  • In the Hawkins High School Yearbook, his Career Goal is Rock Photography.


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