Theodore “Theo” Decker

An intelligent but troubled young man who narrates the novel from the age of twenty-seven. Theo’s psyche is broken in the first chapter when he loses his mother in a terrorist explosion. Theo is the protagonist of the novel.

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Boris Pavlikovsky

Theo’s friend in Las Vegas who later meets him in New York. Boris and Theo are lost boys together. They are foils but best friends. Boris is the victim of childhood abuse and neglect but maintains optimism and resilience.

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The red-haired girl whom Theo sees at the museum on the day of the bombing. He is convinced that she saved his life since he separated from his mother to follow her. Theo falls deeply in love with Pippa.

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James “Hobie” Hobart

Restorer of antique furniture, business partner of Welty and then of Theo. Hobie is a kind and gentle man who loves old objects. He becomes Theo’s surrogate father figure.

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Larry Decker

The drunken, unreliable father of Theo. He leaves his family for his girlfriend in Las Vegas but reconnects with his son after his wife and Theo’s mother Audrey dies. Larry becomes addicted to narcotics.

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Audrey Decker

Theo’s mother and an art history major at NYU. Audrey is beautiful, merry, unpredictable, charming, warm-hearted, and optimistic.

Welton “Welty” Blackwell

The art lover who dies after the bombing with Theo at his side. Welty is Pippa’s uncle and guardian and Hobie’s business partner.

Chance Barbour

Father of Andy and Platt, head of the Park Avenue family that welcomes Theo after the bombing. Mr. Barbour struggles with mental illness.

Samantha Van der Pleyn Barbour

The wealthy and elegant mother of Andy and Platt who collects antiques. Mrs. Barbour loves her children and considers Theo a part of her family.

Andy Barbour

Theo’s friend with whom he lives after the bombing. Andy is nerdy but intelligent and very kind to Theo. He is allergic to many things, overly sensitive, and easily bullied.

Platt Barbour

Older brother of Andy who goes to boarding school. Platt and Theo reunite as adults and scheme ways to swindle antique buyers.

Toddy Barbour

Younger brother of Andy who, thanks to knowing Theo, develops an understanding of and compassion for people who have suffered great loss. As a young adult, he wants to help disadvantaged youth.

Kitsey Barbour

Younger sister to Andy who resents Theo living with them. She later becomes Theo’s fiancée although they do not love each other.

Tom Cable

Friend to Theo who avoids him after Audrey’s death. As an adult, Tom is romantic with Kitsey, whose family would never welcome him.

Burt D. “Goldie”

The adoring and helpful doorman at the Sutton Place apartment building where Theo and his mother live. He is kind and generous to Theo.

Sandra Jaye “Xandra” Terrell

Larry Decker’s girlfriend who lives with him in Las Vegas. She is sometimes kind to Theo and Boris. She manages a bar, uses heavy drugs, and has a dog named Popper.

Mr. Pavlikovsky

Boris’s father, a heavy drinker who works for a mining company. He is cruelly abusive to his son.

George Bracegirdle

Audrey’s lawyer in New York who helped her set up an education fund for Theo to which Larry tries to gain access. George is fatherly with Theo and protective of the funds.


Audrey and Theo’s beloved housekeeper whom they let go after Theo’s father leaves.

Grandpa Decker

Theo’s grandfather, a frightening and harsh man. Living with him was “no picnic” for Theo’s father.

Dorothy Decker

Larry’s stepmother, an immigrant from East Germany, whom Larry ridicules.

Mr. Beeman

An administrator at Theo’s school. He tries to protect Theo when the investigators push him to remember details about the bombing.

Mrs. Swanson

The school counselor at Theo’s private school. She supports and advises Theo after his mother’s death.

Margaret Blackwell Pierce

Welty’s half-sister who takes Pippa to Texas to live with her. Harsh and somewhat arrogant, she later sends Pippa to a Swiss school for troubled girls.

Kylie “Kotku” Hutchins

Boris’s older girlfriend in Las Vegas who threatens Theo and Boris’s friendship. She experiments with drugs and purchases alcohol for Boris.

Naaman Silver

The man who appears at the door looking for Larry. He returns with a threatening companion and tells Theo to warn his father that he needs to pay what he owes.

Mrs. DeFrees

A friendly and kind art dealer and friend to Hobie. She knew Welty and admired him.


The Russian Jewish mover who is a friend to Hobie. He is street-smart, shrewd, and a good observer of people.

Lucius Reeve

An antique collector who discovers Theo’s illicit scheme and calls him out for it. Lucius is conniving and relentless. He is also known as Lucian Race.

Carmen Huidobro

The housekeeper killed by agents who stormed a home in Miami looking for the painting.


Boris’s girlfriend in New York City who masterminds getting the reward money for turning the painting in to the authorities. She is clever and loyal.

Anne de Larmessin

Kitsey’s godmother who arranges all the details of Kitsey’s engagement party and wedding. Her planning is meticulous and her taste is elaborate.

Havistock Irving

A shady New York socialite and historian, also known as Sloane Griscam. He is boisterous and talkative and calls attention to himself.


A shrewd black-market art dealer. He and Theo have an in-depth discussion about famous paintings. He admires The Goldfinch and once had it in his possession.


Boris’s loyal and fearless driver who goes to Amsterdam with them. He is protective of Boris and befriends Theo.


The art dealer who Boris rightfully suspects holds the painting in Amsterdam. He is criminal and also somewhat cowardly.