Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Character List
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Written by Tony Harkin
Charlie is the titular character and the protagonist of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. He is very kind and brave, but unfortunately also extremely poor. He lives with his mother, his father, and his four bed-ridden grandparents. Charlie is generous and selfless. He is the only one who would have been fit to run the factory. At the end of the previous story, Wonka bequeathed the factory to Charlie as a reward for his good heart. His whole family is allowed to come with him. Now, Charlie’s luck has turned. He is very wealthy and well off, and has a whole chocolate factory to run. Charlie is the picture of a perfectly behaved boy. He is quiet, intelligent, and sweet. Charlie is shot up into space in the Great Glass Elevator along with the rest of his family and Wonka. Charlie would rather put himself in danger than see others be hurt. This is proven when Charlie uses the elevator to tow a space shuttle back to Earth, rather than see the shuttle occupants be devoured by Vermicious Knids.
Willy Wonka is the owner of the Great Glass Elevator and Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The chocolate business has made him very rich, but he doesn’t care about money. Wonka cares about what is on the inside. Wonka is exceedingly eccentric, with many odd qualities. Wonka confuses most of the people who meet him, but Charlie is fascinated by him. Wonka loves nonsense and mischief, but can’t abide ugliness. Wonka is described as full of life. In the book, Wonka has a goatee and bright, mischievous eyes. Wonka’s elevator sends the Buckets up into space and they are stuck in orbit. He also saves their lives, by recognizing the Vermicious Knids and preventing the others from getting near them. Wonka is an excellent improviser, and is very knowledgeable about little-known topics. His love of mischief can sometimes get him into strange situations, such as when he talks to the President, while pretending to be a Martian. Wonka is very clever.
The Vermicious Knids
The Vermicious Knids are a species of carnivorous alien from the planet Vermes. They play an important role in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, as they nearly devour the whole group. The Knids are from a planet that is 184,270,000,000 miles away. They have the ability to move very quickly in space. The Knids are huge, dark, egg-shaped predators. They swallow their victims whole. Knids have the ability to manipulate their body to form any shape they please, although they stay the same color and texture. Whenever they are about to attack, they change their bodies to spell out SCRAM, the only English word that they know. The Knids nearly eat all of the characters, by destroying the elevator, but Charlie’s quick thinking saves them all. The Knids are killed in Earth’s atmosphere. Dahl has said the "Knid" should be pronounced "K’nid." "Vermicious" means "worm-like." "Knid" is likely a derivative of the phylum Cnidaria, which includes many aquatic stinging invertebrates.
Grandpa Joe is Charlie’s grandfather, Mr. Bucket’s father. He is the oldest of the grandparents, with his age put at 96 and a half. He tells Charlie many stories about Wonka’s factory and his secret worker, as he shares the same love of Wonka chocolate that Charlie does. Joe is married to Grandma Josephine. He loves to tell stories and very optimistic. Joe is also very sensible. He is the only grandparent to not try the age reversing Wonka-Vite. He also takes care of his wife when she becomes three years old. Joe is incredibly adventurous, especially considering his advanced age. At the same time, he is kind and caring for his family, and wants them to come to as little harm as humanly possible.
Josephine is Charlie’s grandmother and Mr. Bucket’s mother. She is married to Grandpa Joe. She is eighty years and three months old. She is incredibly stubborn, and didn’t wish to leave her bed for any reason. The first time she left it was when the main characters were in space. Josephine panicked and led Wonka away from the elevator controls. This caused the elevator to sink into an orbit. Josephine then went back to her bed. The next time she got out of bed was when Wonka tempted her with Wonka-Vite, a substance that could reverse aging. Unfortunately, she took too much, and was reduced to being three years old. Eventually, she was returned to her normal state. Josephine is much more pessimistic than Joe. She hasn’t budged from her bed in over twenty years. Of course, being near Willy Wonka can change the most contrary opinions.
George is Charlie’s grandfather and Mrs. Bucket’s father. He is married to Grandma Georgina. He is exactly 81 during Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. George is a terrible cynic, and is highly distrustful of many things. After all, he has led an extremely hard life and is now bedridden. He stays in his bed with the other grandparents. George can be uncivil without realizing it, and he also be quite grumpy. He, his wife, and Grandma Josephine are all distrustful of Mr. Wonka, especially when he comes crashing through their roof. They still come with him. George also takes far too much Wonka-Vite. He is reduced to one year of age. When returned to his original state, he is rather upset when he hears that Grandma Georgina has ceased to exist.
Georgina is Charlie’s grandmother and Mrs. Bucket’s mother. She is married to Grandpa George. She is the youngest of the grandparents, being only 78. Charlie describes her as being cantankerous and grumbling. She is very distrustful of Willy Wonka, and doesn’t want to leave her bed under any circumstances. She stays in bed for the majority of the story, until she goes to get Wonka-Vite. She also takes too much, but it has disastrous consequences for her. Since she is only 78, she becomes -2 years old. This results in Georgina being sent to Minus Land. The group goes to Minus Land to find her. Once there, they spray her with Vita-Wonk, which makes her older. Unfortunately, the dosage is wrong and Georgina becomes 358 years old. Using careful dosages, Wonka manages to restore her to her former age.
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