John Carter of Mars/Characters

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John Carter

  • The Ageless
  • Ambiguously Human: Well, he looks, acts, and considers himself human, but there is the little matter of the immortality...
  • Badass
  • Big Good: After becoming the Warlord of Mars.
  • Dual-Wielding: On Barsoom, he adopts the traditional paired long and short swords.
  • Guile Hero / Idiot Hero: An odd combination, depending on context. He's quite clever in a fight, but can often be clueless in social situations, particularly (and self-admittedly) around women.
  • Heavyworlder
  • The Hero: Of the initial trilogy and some of the later books.
  • Master Swordsman: Consider himself one of the best swordsman on two planets; the books show that this is for good reason.
  • Mighty Whitey: Though he's a human among aliens, rather than a white man among non-whites; also the mighty part is unusually literal.
  • Out of Focus: He's the main character of the first three books, then fades into the background for a while so that other characters can take the spotlight, then becomes The Hero again later in the series.

Dejah Thoris

Tars Tarkas



  • Ascended Extra: After being a supporting character in Gods and Warlord, she gets to be one of the two central protagonists of the fourth book, which is named for her.
  • Badass Damsel: Somewhat more proactive than Dejah; she shoots and kills a Thern who had abused her and manages to throw off the influence of Tario, who while completely insane was still one of the strongest psychics on the planet.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: She's the princess of Ptarth, though this isn't immediately revealed.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Well, all banths, anyway.
  • Psychic Powers: Beyond the usual subtle telepathy of Red Martians, she can communicate with and control banths.


Tal Hajus


Matai Shang

  • A God Am I
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Strange aversion. He's a blue-eyed, blond-haired (well, blond-wigged), white-skinned man who believes himself superior to other races and therefore has the right to exploit them however he sees fit and has a cult of followers who believe the same- but at the time Gods and Warlord were written, nobody had heard of a Nazi. Older Than They Think?
  • Bald of Evil / Blond Guys Are Evil: Like all Therns, he's naturally bald but wears a wig to cover it up.
  • Big Bad: Of The Warlord of Mars, shared with Thurid and Salensus Oll
  • The Chessmaster
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: In Gods he's mentioned a lot but never shows up in the flesh. This changes in the first chapter of Warlord.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: A Thern of his rank only eats the flesh of Red and Green Martians
  • Priest King
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Thurid; he's the blue. He's a cold-blooded schemer who stays away from the action and is mostly motivated by a desire to maintain his power.
  • Smug Snake
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Thurid; they hate each other, but hate Carter more.
  • Try to Fit That on A Business Card: Matai Shang, Holy Hekkador of the Holy Therns, Father of the Therns, Brother of Issus, Master of Life and Death Upon Barsoom.



Salensus Oll


  • Badass Grandpa: He's a tiny old man, but don't underestimate him.
  • Elite Mook: What he amounts to story-wise, though it doesn't quite do him justice.
  • Master Swordsman: Considering he's able to overcome the advantage of Carter's super-Martian strength, he's probably the more skilled of the two by a fair margin. Let that sink in. He was almost certainly the best swordsman on Mars.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The guy appears very briefly, but he gives Carter a better fight than anyone else in the series.
  • Worthy Opponent: Carter himself regrets that no one witnessed their duel because of how impressive they both were.