Jonathan Byers

Jonathan Byers

    Stranger Things
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up... as the oldest of two boys (along with Will) born to Joyce and Lonnie Byers in Hawkins, Ind. In one of his rare father-son moments, Jonathan went hunting with Lonnie years ago and his dad forced him to kill a rabbit. Family lore has it that Jonathan cried for nine days afterward. Lonnie left the family not long after, but nobody in the Byers home sheds tears over that these days. 

Living... as the man of the house. Jonathan is still a teenager, but he’s had to grow up fast.  He tries to be there for his brother Will, who looks up to him. He works a job after school to help his mom pay the bills. In fact he takes an additional shift one night to make some extra cash, so he’s not at the house when Will never makes it home after playing Dungeons & Dragons at his friend Mike’s. Jonathan takes the blame for Will’s disappearance, beating himself up for not being there to take care of his brother. 

Profession... high school student. Jonathan is quiet and seems to exist on the fringes of the social order of Hawkins High School. He’s not a total outcast, but he’s not far away from being one.

Interests... photography and music. Jonathan’s most prized possession is a 35-mm camera that he uses to take excellent photos that he develops himself. He also likes music, turning Will on to popular bands like The Clash by making him mixtapes.

Relationship Status... single, but crushing on Nancy Wheeler. Any slim shot he has with Nancy becomes even more remote when she starts dating the uber-popular Steve Harrington, a fact that Jonathan stumbled upon when trying to find photographic evidence of Will’s whereabouts in the woods near Steve’s house. Still, that doesn’t really excuse Jonathan taking a picture through Steve’s bedroom window of Nancy in a bra.

Challenge... finding Will, if he’s even alive. Jonathan’s mom claims that she’s been communicating with Will on the phone (which is now mysteriously burned) and, even more improbably, through the walls of their home. Joyce also insists she saw some sort of monster without a face. Jonathan believes his mom is overcome by grief. But what if she’s right?

Personality... sensitive and artistic, but tougher than he looks. Jonathan might not be that popular at school, but he knows who he is and is mature beyond his years. That is tested when the mysteries in Hawkins keep piling up, with Nancy’s friend Barb going missing along with Will. 


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