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Maybe I am a mess, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m out of my mind! 
But, God help me, I will keep these lights up until the day I die, if I think there’s a chance that Will's still out there!

–Joyce Byers, November 11, 1983


Joyce Byers, portrayed by Winona Ryder, is a major character in Stranger Things. The financially poor single mother of Will and Jonathan Byers, Joyce works as a retail clerk and relies on help from her eldest to make ends meet.

After Will mysteriously disappeared, Joyce was certain that he was communicating with her through the lights in her house. Despite everyone treating her as if she was having a mental breakdown, Joyce refused to believe that Will was dead, even after his alleged corpse was found. Through co-operation with her friend and local police chief Jim Hopper, Will’s friends, and Jonathan, she eventually uncovered the circumstances of her son’s disappearance and entered the Upside Down to rescue him.

A year after the mysterious tragedy of her son, Joyce helps her son with another issue following the events of the first season as she begins dating her old classmate Bob Newby until his death. Towards the end, she, Jonathan, and Nancy assisted in removing Will from the possession of the Mind Flayer.

In 1985, Joyce catches the romantic interest in Jim Hopper. When discovering that most of the magnets in Hawkins have lost their magnetism, following a power outage. As Joyce and Hopper worked together in solving the mystery, they find themselves on Russian hitman Grigori and capture Russian scientist Alexei, who reveals that the Russians are in Hawkins opening a new gate to the Upside Down underneath Starcourt Mall. With the help of Murray Bauman, Joyce and Hopper infiltrate the Russian base and close the gate, though at the cost of Hopper's life. Three months after Hopper's supposed demise, Joyce takes in Eleven and moves her family out of Hawkins.

History

Background

Joyce went to high school with Jim Hopper and Bob Newby. She married Lonnie Byers, with whom she had Jonathan and Will. Jonathan said his parents once loved each other, but that he "wasn't around for that part". The two later divorced and were not on friendly terms. Joyce never required her ex-husband’s help.

Joyce began working at Melvald's General Store in downtown Hawkins around 1973, where she would work long hours and on holidays to make ends meet. Joyce had problems with anxiety in the past.[1]

1983

Before leaving for work one morning, Joyce discovered that Will was nowhere to be found in the house. She called Karen Wheeler, asking whether Will had stayed over at her house following a playdate with his friends, but Karen told her that Will had left the previous night, around 8:00 p.m. Joyce went to file a missing person’s report, but Police Chief Jim Hopper brushed her off, theorizing that Will was "playing hooky" or had run away to his father's house.

As Joyce and Jonathan put together a missing persons poster, the phone rang. Joyce picked it up, hearing only static and growling at first. Then, Joyce was certain that she could hear Will’s breathing, but a jolt of electricity short circuited the phone and the impact knocked her to the floor.[2]

Joyce told Hopper about the call, but he was skeptical. She headed to the General Store and negotiated a free phone and a two-week advance pay from her boss, Donald. Joyce then waited by the new phone for another call, and finally, she heard Will’s voice on the other end, though the phone quickly short-circuited again. Noticing the lights blinking in an odd pattern, she followed them to Will's room. Suddenly, loud music played from Will’s radio as the lights flickered intensively. Joyce was terrified as the wall in Will's room warped and took on a shape as something was trying to break through, and she ran to the car.[3]

Holly Jolly S01-E03 SS 001

Joyce communicating with Will through the lights.

Convinced that Will was talking to her through the lights, Joyce stayed in his room trying to make contact, causing Jonathan to believe she was acting delusionally. Joyce bought several packs of Christmas lights, which she hung all over her living room. Will made contact with her through the lights and answered yes or no questions. Will revealed that he was alive but not safe. Joyce painted an alphabet on the wall, through which Will said he was “right here” and warned her to “run,” right before the monster broke through the wall. Joyce ran down the road and was nearly hit by Jonathan’s car, closely followed by the police.[4]

Hopper informed Joyce that Will’s body was discovered in the local quarry, but Joyce told him she had just talked to Will through the lights. Thinking she was in denial, Hopper shared that he had visions of his own daughter after she passed away, and Joyce replied “I need you to believe me. Please.” She grabbed an ax from the shed as protection and fell asleep on the sofa.

The next morning, Joyce went to the coroner to identify the body. While at the coroner's office, she asked to see Will's birthmark. Joyce refused to sign the death certificate, insisting “I don’t know what you think that thing is in there, but that is not my son!” Jonathan lashed out at her on the sidewalk in front of a crowd, saying they had to deal with his funeral, despite her saying that she truly knows that Will is really alive.

At their home, Will called for Joyce through the wall, and peeling back the wallpaper, she saw his face through a layer of a flesh-like substance. Will said he was in a place “like home, but it's so dark... It's so dark and empty. And it's cold!” The monster approached, and a distraught Joyce told him to run, swearing she would come for him. Joyce chopped a hole in the wall, but it only lead to the outside of her house.[1]

Joyce's ex-husband, Lonnie, came to Hawkins for Will’s funeral and was dismissive to everything Joyce said about finding Will. After the funeral, Joyce found papers from an attorney and sent Lonnie packing because he was only there to profit from Will’s supposed death. Hopper showed up at her house and unscrewed every light bulb inside, searching for a bug, something he had found in his own home. Hopper admitted to Joyce that the entire time, she was right about Will's disappearance.[5]

Hopper and Joyce tracked down Terry Ives, who had sued Dr. Brenner and Hawkins National Laboratory for kidnapping her daughter twelve years before. They found Terry in a catatonic state, unable to speak, but her sister relayed the details of Terry's involvement in the experiments at Hawkins Lab, and her supposed missing daughter.[6]

Returning to Hawkins, they found that Jonathan had been arrested and Nancy Wheeler was keeping him company at the police station. They all joined forces with Will’s friends, who explained that Will was in another dimension. They went to Hawkins Middle School, where they built a makeshift sensory deprivation tank so Eleven could telepathically communicate with Will. Joyce reached out to Eleven and made her feel safe as she was navigating through her mental void. Joyce made Eleven tell Will to hold on and that his mother was coming for him.

The Upside Down

Joyce and Hopper find Will in The Upside Down.

Joyce and Hopper broke into Hawkins National Laboratory, where they were captured on arrival.[7] The pair were interrogated, and Dr. Brenner tried to persuade Joyce to help him. Joyce told Brenner to go to hell. Meanwhile, Hopper negotiated a deal, and the duo was allowed to enter the Upside Down in hazmat suits to search for Will. When they found him, he was close to death, strung up in a web of strange biologic matter with a tendril extending down his throat. Hopper and Joyce administered CPR to Will until he was resuscitated. After being rescued, Will was brought to the Hawkins General Hospital where he recovered.

1984

Shortly after being rescued, Will began experiencing visions of the Upside Down. He eventually told Joyce about these visions, prompting her to start taking him to Hawkins National Laboratory for routine medical exams. During these visits, he'd be looked over by Dr. Owens, who attested that Will's visions were psychosomatic episodes similar to those related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

At some point, Joyce began dating Bob Newby.

On October 29, Joyce dropped Will off at the Palace arcade. There, Will had an episode, suddenly appearing in the Upside Down version of the arcade and witnessing what appeared to be a storm of some sort.

The next day, Joyce was at work sewing Will's Halloween costume when Bob walked in. The couple briefly made out in the backroom.

Joyce picked Will up after school and together they went to the lab where they met up with Hopper. Will told Owens about his episode, saying that an evil force wanted to kill everyone. Owens told Joyce and Hopper the reason for the increased number of episodes is because of the “Anniversary Effect.” He advised them to just treat Will as normally as possible.

As Joyce was assisting Will with his costume the following morning, she came across his drawing of a strange spider-like creature. She asked him if he had experienced another episode, but he lied, telling her it was for a story he was writing. Joyce later showed the drawing to Hopper who reassured her that everything will be fine. That night, Joyce and Bob were alone while Will was trick-or-treating with his friends, and Jonathan was at a Halloween party. While the two were dancing, Bob proposed that they move to Maine. Joyce was hesitant about the idea.

The following day, Bob met up with Joyce for lunch. He informed her that the tape from Halloween night had shown
Joyce watch Will's tape

Joyce watch Will's tape to find a spider-like creature

Will being bullied by some teenagers in costumes. Later, while watching the tape, Joyce noticed some strange interference in the footage. After tracing the shape on a piece of paper, she realized it resembled Will's drawing of the the spider-like creature. Worried, she went to the Middle School to get Will. When she arrived, Joyce, as well as the boys and Max, found Will as he was experiencing another episode. While Joyce tried to wake him up, Will was being overwhelmed by the shadow monster. When Will finally snapped out of the episode, Joyce took him home and questioned him about his drawing. Will recounted his encounter with the shadow monster, saying he felt it everywhere and could still feel it. Joyce then assured him that she wouldn't let anything hurt him, promising she would help fix whatever was wrong with him.

The next morning, Joyce tried to contact Hopper, but received no answer. After taking Will's temperature, she discovered that it was lower than average. Joyce ran a bath in order to warm him, but Will refused to get in it, saying “He likes it cold.” When Hopper finally arrived, Will explained to him that he now knew things he hadn't before, through memories that “were happening all at once”, which he called “now-memories”. When Will couldn't make sense of these now-memories, Joyce asked him to draw what he saw. He began frantically drawing what at first appeared to be random scribbles, but Joyce and Hopper soon realized that the drawings were all connected. After assembling the drawings in the correct order, they discovered the drawings depicted a strange maze-like pattern. Assuming that the drawings depicted vines, Hopper made the connection to the pumpkin patch and left.

Later, Mike stopped by the house hoping to acquire more information about Will's situation. Joyce initially dismissed him, but once he mentioned the shadow monster, she let him inside.

The next morning, Will informed Joyce that Hopper was in trouble after seeing him through his connection with the shadow monster. While they were able to figure out where Hopper was in Will's drawings, they did not know the actual location. Just then, Bob arrived, and because of his talent in solving puzzles, Joyce enlisted his help. Bob realized that the drawings were a map of Hawkins, and was able to pinpoint Hopper's location. Arriving at the location, Joyce and Bob descended into the tunnels while Mike and Will waited above ground. Eventually, Hopper was found entangled in a mass of vines. After freeing him, soldiers from the lab arrived and urged them to leave shortly before burning the tunnels. Suddenly, Will collapsed and began convulsing on the ground.

Joyce, Bob, Hopper, and Mike were taken to Hawkins Lab, where Will was quickly treated. When Will awoke, he could not remember Owens, Bob, or Hopper, and was barely able to remember Mike. In a test involving a severed vine from the Upside Down, Owens asked if Will could feel anything as another scientist used a blowtorch to burn the vine. Through this, they determined that Will had some sort of “virus” that connected him to all other infected hosts in a hive intelligence. Back in the infirmary, Will claimed he knew of a way they could possibly stop the shadow monster. Using images that the lab personnel had taken of the map, Will directed the scientists to an area, stating “he doesn't want me to see there.”

As soldiers traversed the tunnels, Will revealed that the shadow monster made him deceive the soldiers. Realizing it was a trap, Mike tried to warn the scientists, but it was too late; the soldiers were ambushed and killed by a pack of Demodogs. Shortly after, Demodogs began invading the lab. To prevent the shadow monster from knowing their location, Mike urged them to sedate Will. Once Will was unconscious, the group took refuge in a surveillance room, where they witnessed the lab being overrun by Demodogs before the power went out. To restore the power and allow them a way out, Bob volunteered to go down to the basement and reset the breakers. Once the power was restored and the doors unlocked, Mike, Joyce, Hopper, and Will made it to safety while Owens stayed behind to guide Bob. Just when it seemed Bob was safe, he was tackled and killed by several Demodogs. Outside, the group met up with Nancy, Jonathan, Steve, Dustin, Lucas, and Max. Together, they escaped the lab.

At the Byers' house, Joyce grieved Bob's death while everyone else speculated about the shadow monster's weakness. When they realized that the shadow monster controlled everything in a hive mind, they compared it to the Mind Flayer, a monster from Dungeons & Dragons that similarly controls the minds of its victims. They also speculated that, if they killed the Mind Flayer, they would kill everything it controlled. Mike then proposed that, in order to discover the Mind Flayer's weakness, they'd have to take Will someplace he couldn't recognize and try to get through to him. Joyce agreed, and after making the backyard shed unrecognizable, they attempted to interrogate Will. While the Mind Flayer had taken over a majority of Will's mind and body, a part of Will managed to subconsciously signal to them in Morse code. Deciphering his message, they discovered the way to stop the Mind Flayer: closing the Gate. Soon after, the phone in the Byers' kitchen rang, giving away their location.

As the house was being surrounded by a pack of Demodogs, the group armed themselves. Before the pack could attack, however, Eleven arrived and eradicated them. Together, the group came up with a plan: Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy would exorcise the Mind Flayer from Will's body while Eleven and Hopper would go to the lab and close the gate. After taking Will to Hopper's cabin, Joyce, Nancy, and Jonathan restrained him, surrounding him with numerous heaters. This eventually caused the piece of the Mind Flayer possessing Will to be expelled from his body.

On December 15, Joyce taught Will how to dance in preparation for the Snow Ball. After dropping him off at the dance, she met Hopper in the school's parking lot. Hopper comforted Joyce, who was still grieving over Bob.

1985

Once again happy in her home, one day Joyce sends off her son Jonathan Byers to his job at The Hawkins Post, wiping off the lipstick from his cheek. However, she notices that the magnets have mysteriously failed on her refrigerator, but she heads to her job at Melvald's General Store anyway where Jim Hopper arrives, complaining to her about problems with El and Mike. Joyce suggests Hopper have a "heart-to-heart" with the pair, tutoring Hopper through the process of writing a speech for it. When Hopper departs, Joyce notices that yet more magnets have mysteriously stopped working. Returning home to an empty house, Joyce proceeds to watch old shows that she and Bob Newby used to watch together, remembering her time with him mournfully, before the magnets once again lose their magnetism and fail.

The next day at Melvald’s, Hopper returns, jubilant that her "tutoring" resolved the issue. Hopper manages to convince Joyce to go to dinner with him, until he is called away to deal with a protest against Mayor Kline, knocking off more failing magnets as he goes, much to Joyce’s rising confusion when the magnets no longer adhere to metal surfaces. Perplexed, Joyce acquires several textbooks and heads to Scott Clarke’s house for help to figure out what is happening, skipping her dinner with Hopper. They build an unstable electromagnetic field to replicate the failing magnets, and Joyce queries Clarke on how this could be happening at her house and at Melvald’s. Although Clarke says "apophenia", coincidence, is the most likely explanation, he allows that theoretically, a machine with billions of volts of electricity (costing millions of dollars to construct) could potentially emit such an unstable electromagnetic field large enough to demagnetize objects all across town.

Driven, Joyce goes to Hopper’s cabin to share what she had learned, hypothesizing that something at the old Hawkins National Laboratory could be causing this problem and/or putting the town in danger. However, Hopper is unconvinced, angry that she stood him up the night previous, so Joyce heads to the Lab anyway, forcing Hopper to follow. At the Lab, Joyce has flashbacks to Bob Newby’s heroic death, but she presses on with Hopper to investigate the abandoned building. Later, Joyce has more flashbacks of past horrors, and Hopper reveals that he knows of her plans to leave Hawkins and move elsewhere, which makes her uncomfortable. They are interrupted however by a strange noise made by Grigori, who ambushes Hopper and flees on a motorcycle, with Joyce only partially successful at getting his license plate number.

Joyce takes a grievously wounded Hopper back to his cabin, tending to him until he violently throws up and rises without any clothes on, embarrassing Joyce. She relays what few license plate numbers she managed to get, which lead no where, until she mentions that Grigori was driving a motorcycle, which causes Hopper to recognize him. Joyce and Hopper head to town hall where Hopper violently confronts and kidnaps Mayor Kline over information, Joyce preventing people from calling the authorities. They head to Kline’s mansion, discovering that Kline facilitated shady real estate deals for the Russians, and Joyce realizes that the theoretical machine Clarke mentioned wasn’t at the Lab because it is probably in one of these suspect properties. They stop Kline from escaping before moving on to search.

After a long search, Joyce and Hopper find a house with a secret entrance into a subterranean Russian base. Although forced to flee by Grigori, they successfully kidnap Alexei and escape. After breaking down in the woods, Joyce tries to communicate with Alexei until their car explodes, forcing them to trek to a 7-Eleven to commandeer a car and head to Murray Bauman’s warehouse, since Murray speaks Russian and can translate for Alexei, who does not speak English. They arrive, and Murray annoys Joyce until she goes on an angry tirade, prompting Murray to stop "scanning" Alexei in order to actually get started.

Interrogating Alexei via Murray, Alexei stalls for a "cherry" Slurpee until Hopper throws him outside with the keys to their car, in order to make a point that Alexei won’t run because he needs them. Joyce objects that he is escaping, until Alexei bashfully returns of his own volition, in a more cooperative mood. He explains the purpose of the Key, to create a Gate to the Upside Down, and that the Russians needed to move the Key to Hawkins because the "door" was still "healing" there, having been open not long ago. Joyce asks if the "door" is open, to which Alexei responds that it is "opening". Realizing the severity of the situation, Hopper calls the United States government for help, and Joyce angrily yells over the phone after Hopper is done, believing the issue to not have been given high enough priority. She then insists on returning to Hawkins immediately in order to safeguard her children, who she believes to be in danger.

En route, Hopper and Joyce argue over the severity of the danger to their children, but Murray angrily cuts them off, saying that their arguing is a "mind-numbing and frankly boorish mating ritual", demanding that they either stop bickering or "pull over, tear off those clothes, and get it over with already", shocking them into silence as Murray and Alexei begin to laugh at them. Arriving at the Fun Fair, Joyce and Hopper leave with Hopper angrily commanding Murray to "stay put", Hopper telling Joyce not to let Murray "get under [your] skin", which Joyce quickly brushes off. They enter a ride with Karen Wheeler so that they can ask where the kids are, but after leaving Murray brings them to Alexei, who had been shot by Grigori and died while Murray sought them out, much to Joyce’s distress. As Russian hitmen close in, Hopper has Joyce run ahead while he leads them astray, Joyce picking Hopper up in a car after he shakes them.

Having overheard Russian communications via radio, talking about "kids", Joyce is certain that it is her kids who are in danger, and races to the Starcourt Mall food court. Arriving just as El launches a parasite from her leg (which Hopper crushes), the group share the latest happenings with Joyce and company. Together with Dustin and Murray, they come up with a plan to destroy the Key (thus closing the nascent Gate and cutting off the Mind Flayer, killing his minions). Murray, Joyce, and Hopper descend into the underground base, kill the guards, and steal their clothes before proceeding, Murray doing the talking. Murray continues on to damage the Key’s power supply while Joyce and Hopper wait, with Joyce arranging another dinner date with Hopper after all these events are over. Murray succeeds, raising an alarm and allowing Joyce and Hopper to steal the physical shut-off keys to the Key (albeit with password help from Dustin and Suzie). They then raid the command room, forcing the scientists to leave via gunfire, but just as they are about to turn the keys to disable the Key, Grigori attacks Hopper, and the two battle outside in the main chamber while Joyce reinserts the keys, intending to turn them alone using a bungee cord. Hopper eventually defeats Grigori, throwing him into the Key and causing a wall of electricity to strike out, cutting off Hopper’s escape just as Joyce gets a solid grip on both keys. With Dustin screaming over the radio to close the Gate now, and Hopper trapped, Joyce and Hopper share a final glance at each other, Hopper nodding his acceptance and smiling at her. Joyce closes her eyes, crying, and she pulls the keys.

The Key explodes, vaporizing everyone in the room but Joyce, being behind the protective glass of the command room. The Gate closes, cutting off the Mind Flayer from reality and causing the Mind Flayer’s body on earth to die. Although Joyce searches the walkway where Hopper was, Hopper is no where to be seen, having been right next to the Key as it exploded. Joyce begins to break down as Murray arrives asking where Jim is, and Joyce only cries in response. Russian agents begin to enter the room, so Murray escorts her out of the Russian base even as American soldiers also arrive, Murray screaming "don’t shoot!" and that they are Americans, despite the Russian uniforms they’re both wearing. Joyce is taken above ground where emergency services have arrived, and she reunites with her son Will, them both hugging. From over Will’s shoulder however, Joyce sees El, and El realizes from Joyce’s expression that Hopper is dead.

Several months later and preparing to leave Hawkins for good, Joyce goes through Hopper’s old belongings, finding the "heart-to-heart" speech she and him wrote together. El comes in, and Joyce realizes that Hopper never actually spoke it to El or Mike, and so she gives the written speech to El to read. Joyce asks if El is ok, and after finishing packing things up, has one last look at her old house before hugging her friends goodbye and then leaving Hawkins with Will, Jonathan, and El.

Personality

Joyce was highly generous, amicable and a tremendously benevolent mother who would do almost anything to keep her sons, particularly Will, out of harm's way. After Will's disappearance, Joyce enlisted Chief Jim Hopper to find him as well as posted several missing person's posters with the help of her other son Jonathan. Even after Will's presumed dead body was found, she was still convinced that her son was alive and undertook extreme measures to contact with him, such as chopping a hole in the wall of her house in order to find him. Ultimately, her commitment was rewarded when it was revealed that Will was actually alive and with Hopper's help, she was able to save him.

However, when it was found that Will had been experiencing visions of the Upside Down, Joyce wasted no time bringing him to Dr. Owens for routine medical exams. Her extreme concern for Will surprisingly led her to discover that the shadow creature from the Upside Down had overwhelmed and possessed him, causing him to behave strangely. After Will convulsed and suffered from severe pain during the burning of the tendrils, Joyce was terrifically dismayed to learn that her son started showing memory problems, which caused her to berate the doctors.

Eventually, it was her immense determination to protecting her son that allowed her to save Will after she forced the shadow monster out by exposing her possessed son to extreme heat.

Relationships

Familial

Joyce met Lonnie Byers at some point in her life and fell in love with him. They later married and had two sons, Jonathan and Will Byers. According to their eldest son, Jonathan, Joyce and Lonnie once did love each other, but their marriage became strained and they divorced before the year 1983. Joyce began to hate Lonnie for his uncaring nature and stopped getting in touch with him until Will mysteriously disappeared. Joyce was against contacting Lonnie to see if Will was with him and Lonnie blamed Joyce for Will's disappearance. When Lonnie came to Will's "funeral," Joyce seemed surprised to see him there until she discovered that Lonnie only came to collect profit from Will's supposed death. As a result, Joyce angrily ordered Lonnie to get out.

Joyce clearly deeply cared about her youngest son. Joyce encouraged Will to be his own person and allowed him to be creative, praising his artistic ability and letting him build his own fort in the nearby woods. Will felt comfortable discussing his D&D campaigns with her as he would with his friends. While trapped in the Upside Down, he repeatedly tried to contact her, often putting himself at risk of being found by the Monster. Joyce became determined to find him, and eventually entered the Upside Down to save him.

It‘s a year later and Joyce has become very protective of Will, she drives him everywhere to school, to one of his friends house and to the arcade. When the day of his disappearance is getting closer, Joyce became even more protective of her son. When the Shadow Monster has taken over Will’s body, she does everything in her power to get it out of him. When they figure out that it doesn’t like heat, she, Jonathan and Nancy went to Hopper’s cabin to burn it out of him. Once the Shadow Monster was out of Will, Joyce was happy to have her son back. One month later, Joyce decided to give Will some space, but still decided to stay close by.

Several months have passed by and Joyce isn’t as overprotective of Will as she first was. She allows him to go on his own. When Will thought that love was gross, Joyce said that he isn’t going to think like that when he falls in love. When she heard that her kids are in danger, she, Hopper, Murray and Alexei raced back to Hawkins to save them. Once she was reunited with Will at the mall, she told him to hide and listen to his brother. After Joyce closed the Gate, she and Will hugged each other and was glad that her son was safe. Three months later Joyce decided to move her sons and Eleven out of Hawkins.

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. Jonathan did not believe Joyce that Will was alive as Jonathan was convinced Will was dead after seeing the fake body of Will. However, Jonathan realized his mother was telling the truth after Nancy claimed she saw the Demogorgon like Joyce and was able to confirm its appearance in the photograph Jonathan took. After Jonathan was arrested, Joyce demanded he'd be set free, as she was not angry at him for fighting Steve Harrington. Jonathan apologized to Joyce as she told her son that he was not alone in trying to find and save Will. The two shared a hug and continued to work together where they were finally reunited with Will after his rescue from the Upside Down.

A year later has gone by and it seems that Joyce and Jonathan still have a close relationship. Joyce wanted Jonathan to look out for Will.

Joyce seemed happy for her eldest son when he has a girlfriend. She wiped the lipstick of his cheek and doesn’t seem to mind that Nancy spent the night with Jonathan. When she heard that her kids are in danger, she, Hopper, Murray and Alexei raced back to Hawkins to save them. She also put Jonathan in charge of taking care of his brother. After the event, Joyce decided to move her sons and Eleven out of Hawkins.

Non-Familial

Hopper and Joyce have known each other since high school. They were fairly close, often skipping class to smoke together, even being caught by a teacher on at least one occasion. Their friendship continued well into adulthood, and remained even after Hopper returned to Hawkins after living in another city for several years. After Will vanished, Hopper and Joyce gradually drew closer together, confiding in one another as they attempted to find answers to the mysteries materializing around them.

Joyce and Bob knew each other since high school and sometime in 1984, they developed an affectionate relationship, mainly due to Bob's commiserative attitude to both her and her sons. Joyce would even entrust her son to go with him. And when Will's condition turned worse, she didn't hesitate to reveal to him the mysterious events that happened the previous year. However, Bob's shocking death at the Hawkins Lab left her in bereavement. And in 1985, Joyce continued to mourn for Bob's death as she remembered all the times she shared with him.

Joyce first learned about Eleven from Hopper when he mistook her for Will during his investigation. When Joyce meets Eleven, she became a mother figure to her as Eleven never received any motherly love as she was taken from her birth mother Terry Ives when she was a baby. Joyce thanked Eleven for everything she's done to help find Will and assures her that she'll be with her the whole as she tries to locate Will in the homemade sensory deprivation tank. This is later proved to be true as Joyce comforts Eleven when she finds Barbara Holland's corpse, giving Eleven the courage to find Will. A year later, when Eleven revealed herself to be alive, Joyce embraces her and asks for help in saving Will from the Mind Flayer by closing the gate which Eleven accepts.

A year later, Joyce continues to have a good relationship with Eleven. She even supports her relationship with Mike Wheeler, unlike Hopper. When Joyce learns that Eleven and her friends are in danger, Joyce immediately goes out to rescue and protect them. After successfully closing the gate and killing the Mind Flayer, Joyce sadly tells Eleven that Hopper died in the process. Three months later, Joyce takes Eleven in and allows her to live with her family as they move out of Hawkins.

Joyce is shown to be good friends with Karen Wheeler as their sons are best friends. After Will went missing, Karen gave Joyce a casserole to comfort her, which Joyce thanked her for. In 1985, Joyce and Karen are still shown to be good friends as Joyce sought Karen out on asking where the children are during the Fun Fair.

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

Joyce Byers:

  • "Alright, well, I don't know who's been raising you, but I'm gonna get you some new crayons, because it looks like he's shooting cabbages."
  • "Just ring me up, Donald."
  • "Will wanted me to give him some space, so I'm giving him a few feet."

Joyce Byers to Jonathan:

  • "I know it sounds crazy... I sound crazy... You think I don't know that? It is crazy! But I heard him, Jonathan... he talked to me! Will is calling to me, and he's out there, and he's alone, and he's scared, and... I don't care if anyone believes me. I am not gonna stop looking for him until I find him and bring him home! I am going to bring him home!"
  • "This is not yours to fix alone. You act like you're all alone out there in the world, but you're not!"

Joyce Byers to Hopper:

  • ”And have to look at your face every day? I don’t think so.”
  • “Yeah, well, it‘s really hard to listen when you make everything sound like the end of the goddamn world.”

Joyce Byers to Brenner:

  • "I know who you are. I know what you've done... You took my boy away from me! You left him in that place to die. You faked his death... we had a funeral, we buried him! And now, you're asking for my help? Go to hell."

Joyce Byers to Murray:

  • “So, if you don’t mind, put that thing away, stop behaving like a jackass, and ask him what he’s doing that’s making my magnets fall off my damn fridge!”

Joyce Byers to the Philadelphia Public Library:

  • “Uhh, this is Antique Chariot‘s partner... Wheelbarrow. I don’t think Antique Chariot properly conveyed the urgency of our situation... Don’t you dare patronize me! I don’t know who you are, if you’re some glorified secretary of what, but if you don’t want to lose your job, here’s what’s gonna happen. When I hang up, you’re gonna get up off your ass, and you’re gonna go find Owens, and tell him what’s going on. He’s gotta get to Hawkins, and he’s gotta bring his men right now! Do you understand me? Thank you, and good day.”

Behind the scenes

Character development

The character was initially more of a "tough Long Island mom."[8] In the original pilot script, she was described as a mom in her late 30s with a Long Island accent wearing too much make-up. She worked two jobs, appeared to be more aggressive and cursed a lot.[9] After Winona Ryder was cast in the role, the Duffer Brothers talked about the character Roy Neary portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss, in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, who encounters something supernatural and appears insane to the outside world. They thought Winona, who has "this wild, unpredictable energy about her," could play that really well.[8]

Costume

Costume designer Kimberley Adams compiled mood boards for each character's style. Joyce's board had images of Meryl Streep's character Karen Silkwood in the film Silkwood (1983) and singer/actress Cher's style in the 1980s.[10] Adams sent Winona Ryder the board and they discussed the character in depth before Adams gathered period clothing for the character.[11]

Gallery

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


Trivia

  • Joyce is one of the characters to have had more than one love interest; Lonnie Byers, Bob Newby, and Jim Hopper.
  • According to Joyce, she's worked at Melvald's during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Joyce drives a 1976 Ford Pinto.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 4: The Body"
  2. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 1: The Vanishing of Will Byers"
  3. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street"
  4. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 3: Holly, Jolly"
  5. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 5: The Flea and the Acrobat"
  6. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 6: The Monster"
  7. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter 7: The Bathtub"
  8. 8.0 8.1 "The Stranger Things creators want some scares with their Spielberg" ''A.V. Club''. July 13, 2016.
  9. "Montauk Pilot" written by The Duffer Brothers.
  10. "Costume Design Tear Sheets" Things Insider</nowiki>. September 4, 2016.
  11. "Stranger Things - Costume Designing 1980s Nostalgia" Tyranny of Style.


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