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The novel’s protagonist who goes on a quest to find an Easter egg in the OASIS. Wade Watts is a high school student who lives in a trailer park in Oklahoma City. After growing up poor and spending most of his life in the OASIS, Wade leverages his knowledge and intellect in the hunt. Wade is a shy yet determined underdog who struggles against the corruption of the IOI. Throughout the novel, he matures and proves he is worthy of the prize.
Read an in-depth analysis of Wade Watts/Parzival.
The creator of the OASIS. James Halliday grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, when life was still comfortable for most people in America regardless of income. Halliday had an unhappy childhood and was obsessed with 1980s pop culture. He created the OASIS with Ogden Morrow. Halliday died a recluse and created the Easter egg hunt as a way to alleviate feelings of regret.
Read an in-depth analysis of James Halliday/Anorak.
One of the most famous gunters in the OASIS. Art3mis has a blog about Halliday that Wade follows and becomes obsessed with. Art3mis is very private and, like Wade, is a loner. She is very knowledgeable about Halliday and 1980s pop culture.
Read an in-depth analysis of Samantha Cook/Art3mis.
Wade’s best friend and another famous gunter. Aech is rich from success in video game competitions. Aech is generous, supportive, and careful to never make Wade feel bad about being poor. It is revealed that Aech is actually a young Black woman close to Wade’s age named Helen Harris.
Read an in-depth analysis of Aech.
The co-founder of the OASIS. Ogden Morrow is charismatic and happy, the opposite of Halliday. He worried about the OASIS going down a dark path and started Halcydonia Interactive to make educational video games instead. Even after a falling-out with Halliday, he still has loyalty to him and agrees to ensure the competition’s integrity.
The antagonist and Head of Operations at IOI. Sorrento is greedy and cruel. He only cares about the interests of the IOI and has no regard for anyone else.
A Japanese gunter and “brother” of Daito. He embodies honor and loyalty. He spends all his time online. Shoto seeks revenge on the Sixers after Daito is killed.
A Japanese gunter and “brother” of Shoto. Like Shoto, he embodies honor and loyalty. He is very private and opposed to forming alliances. He is killed by the Sixers.
A high-level gunter. I-r0k sometimes hangs out in the Basement. He is rude, arrogant, and self-serving. He reveals to the world that Wade and Aech are students on Ludus.
Wade’s virtual personal assistant. Max isn’t a human character, but he keeps Wade company when he is in isolation. Max executes any command that Wade gives.
Wade’s cruel aunt. Alice is a cold, selfish drug addict who only took Wade in to get his food vouchers. She is killed when the Sixers blow up her trailer.
Aunt Alice’s boyfriend. He takes Wade’s laptop. He is killed when the Sixers blow up the trailer.
Wade’s friendly neighbor. Mrs. Gilmore is religious and tenderhearted. She is the only adult who shows kindness to Wade. She is killed in the explosion.
Wade’s mother. She loved Wade but struggled to make ends meet. She was a drug addict and died from an overdose.
An IOI Collections and Credit Division Employee. Michael Wilson arrives at Wade’s apartment to arrest him.
Aech’s mother. She struggled against racism and used a white male avatar to avoid it. Marie disowned Aech when she found out that Aech is a lesbian.
Morrow’s wife. Kira was geeky and cofounded Halcydonia Interactive with Morrow. Halliday was also in love with Kira. She was tragically killed in a car accident.