Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea/Characters

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Professor Pierre Arronaux

A Professor of nautical science from France.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

  • Agent Mulder: He is firmly convinced the sea monster at the beginning of the story is a giant narwhal, and while his reasoning is plausible based on limited evidence, he admits to believing such is the truth based on little more than blind faith.
  • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey: Played With. He's not much of a fighter, nor does he want to oppose Nemo at first. However, once Nemo crosses the Moral Event Horizon,any impulse to not resist him goes out the windows.
  • Labcoat of Science and Medicine: While the actual coat is not mentioned, the implications of the trope itself are as Nemo once asks Arronaux to give one of his men a medical examination under the assumption Arronaux has some medical training, an assumption he is correct on.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: The most afflicted of the three, genuinely torn between the potential offered by journeying with Nemo and the horror of never seeing land ever again.
  • The Professor: It is his title, after all, and as narrator, he often segues into scientific monologues.


The loyal Flemish manservant of Professor Arronaux.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:

  • Undying Loyalty: To Professor Arronaux.
  • Third Person Person: How he refers to everyone, to Arronaux's occasionally annoyance.
  • True Neutral: Explicitly referred to as being unwilling to do anything on his own initiative and accused of being what amounts to this by Ned Land. In truth, he's closer to an extreme version of Lawful Neutral, that being defined by Professor Arronaux's wishes.

Ned Land

A Canadian harpooner.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Agent Scully: Refuses to accept the sea monster is a giant narwhal. His reasoning for this isn't very exact, but he rejects it as being the truth. He discovers he's right, but not for any reasons he is happy about later.
  • Canada, Eh?: A fact Verne refuses to quit reminding us about Ned.
  • Only Sane Man: The only member of the cast who refuses to forget the whole time he's a prisoner of a man of uncertain principles who's full actions are beyond his understanding, who remembers his own life is at the mercy of said man, and that said mercy could be revoked at any time, and the mercy in question is to suffer their lives in a Gilded Cage. Arronaux and Conseil finally comes around to this point of view towards the end when they realize Ned might be an abrasive asshole, but they truly underestimated Nemo's capacity for evil outstripping any good by a wide margin.

Captain Nemo

The enigmatic captain of the Nautilus.

Tropes exhibited by this character include:
  • Above Good and Evil: Claims to be above any such notions save for some allowances for natural laws (as in, every human has a right to expect kindness from others if it's in their power to grant it), but otherwise makes clear his morality is disconnected from the ones defined by the "civilized" world.
  • Badass: He had the navies of every continent scared shitless of him.
    • Cultured Badass: The man is an Omniglot, extremely well-read, has the training of an engineer, and can show remarkable good manners and class.
  • Commanding Coolness: Good or evil, he is no doubt an incredible sailor and a born commander.
  • Consummate Liar: While unable to avoid some level of being sinister, he is able to keep his captives pacified and ignorant for quite some time as to his using the Nautilus to sink ships simply out of spite until his winnowing sanity overcomes this capability for deception, but by that point, he no longer cares.
  • Deal with the Devil: Offers a deal to spare the lives of the protagonists in exchange for accepting occasional confinement for unspecified reasons at occasional intervals, and given the alternative is being left to die, the protagonists have little choice but to accept at the time.
  • Genius Bruiser: While capable of violence, he makes clear he wishes to avoid it, and prefers to win over Arronaux and his friends with his guile, charm, and intelligence, though it is quite clear he has a military background, is no stranger to violence, and is capable of great and terrible acts in that regard.
  • Mr. Exposition: Required whenever he's explaining how the Nautilus works when asked by Arronaux.
  • Sanity Slippage: Undergoes a slow version throughout the story. It's implied it was going on even before the rest of the cast encountered him, but at a much slower rate.