The House of the Scorpion

Characters

  • Matt (short for Matteo) is the protagonist in this story. He is a clone of El Patrón, created so he can be used for transplants to prolong El Patrón's life when El Patrón's organs fail. Though most clones have their brains destroyed at birth, El Patrón's clones are left unharmed and live like normal human beings until El Patrón needs a transplant. Matt, with Tam Lin, Celia, and Maria's help, manages to escape the horrible fate of the 8 other clones and out-lives El Patrón, becoming the ruler of Opium.
  • Celia is the Big House cook and Matt’s caretaker. Celia is the mother figure in Matt's life, and protects him from the abhorrent truths about his purpose.
  • El Patrón is a drug lord, born Matteo (he later took on the name Alacrán, meaning scorpion), the ruler of Opium, and eventually, the most powerful man in the world. He has lived for 146 years by harvesting organs from his clones, the last of which (and the only one who lived) was Matt. The Aztlános call him the old vampire of Dreamland (a metonym for Opium). El Patrón is the only one protecting Matt from the people who do not like Matt, but Matt soon finds out that El Patron only wants him for his organs. El Patrón has a heart attack when Matt is 14, and demands Matt give him life in return for the life that he granted Matt. However, he is foiled by Celia. El Patrón is so enraged by her treachery that he soon has another heart attack and dies.
  • María and Emilia are the only children of Mr. Mendoza, who is an influential US Senator. El Patrón, who likes making powerful friends, frequently invites them to stay in Opium; consequently, María spends a lot of time in the Big House. She's around Matt's age and is his only friend, aside from Celia and Tam Lin. She treats him well even when no one else will, and unlike everyone else, doesn't see him as a filthy abomination. As they get older, they realize that they love each other. Emilia is revealed towards the end to be cruel-hearted and snobbish, showing no interest in her mother, feeling betrayed that her mother sticks up for "losers". She presumably died with her husband, Steven, during the funeral.
  • The Lost Boys are a group of boys whose parents were captured by the Farm Patrol while attempting to emigrate to the US, and were most likely turned into eejits. These boys are kept in Keepers' orphanage compounds in Aztlán and forced to work incessantly and adhere to Marxist principles, often punished for minor offenses, while the Keepers sit idle most of the time, secretly involved in the resale of laudanum from Opium. Ton-Ton, Chacho and Fidelito are the Lost Boys who join forces with Matt and escape the Keepers with him.
  • The Alacráns are El Patrón's descendants. They include his grandson, Gustavo Alacrán, known to most as "El Viejo", his great-grandson Mr. Alacrán, and his great-great grandsons, Benito, Tom, and Steven.
  • Mr. Mendoza is a US Senator, and his two daughters, María and Emilia. Mr. Mendoza is one of El Patrón's friends and visits his daughters frequently. He probably attended the funeral and died with the other mourners.
  • Esperanza is Mr. Mendoza's former wife, and María and Emilia's mother. She walked out on them when María was five, and is the author of "A History of Opium", a book about the atrocities of Opium. A copy of this makes its way into Matt's hands through Tam Lin. From a page in the back of the book about the author, Matt deduces that Esperanza is politically powerful. When he's escaping Opium, Tam Lin orders him to seek out María in order to find her mother, Esperanza, who could probably help Matt.
  • Rosa is a maid employed by the Alacrán Estate, who treats Matt horribly upon discovering he is a clone. She tortures and neglects him for six months when she is finally reported to El Patrón. For this offense, she is turned into an eejit who can only fetch horses for Matt (who pities her, despite her cruel treatment of him).
  • Willum is the lead doctor at the Alacrán Estate, who frequently treats Matt for sickness and injury. He has a love-hate relationship with Rosa.
  • El Viejo is El Patrón's grandson and Mr. Alacrán's father. He is described by Celia as "the only good man in the house". He later dies of an unknown cause, for which a lavish funeral is held in his honor.
  • Felicia is the drunken, psychopathical, and often drugged wife of Mr. Alacrán. She ran off with fellow opium farmer Mr. MacGregor, and comes home with a son, Tom, as a result. As Tom grows up, the two continuously plot Matt's downfall.
  • Tom is a rude, mean-spirited boy who is detested (with varying degrees of openness) by almost everyone at the Alacrán Estate. He has specific animosity towards Matt, whom he and Felicia frequently try to bring down.
  • Benito is one of Mr. Alacrán's children. He is described by Matt as "slightly nicer" than Steven and Emilia, which more or less proves to be true.
  • Fani is Benito's wife. She detests her husband, but was drugged and forced to marry him by El Patrón. She frequently drinks as a form of escapism. She may have been at the funeral and died, or could have possibly left Benito the moment his great-great-grandfather died, as she hated him and El Patrón's power no longer held over her, and she wouldn't have to leave Nigeria.
  • Felipe is El Patrón's son, who has died long before the time of the story's premise.
  • Mr. MacGregor is a drug lord in Opium and El Patrón's apparent best friend. He also invokes the use of a clone for organs, much to the shock of Matt and María.He is also Tom's biological father.
  • Sister Inéz is a nun at the Covenant of Santa Clara, where María and Emilia attend school.
  • Jorge, Raul, and Carlos are Keepers in Aztlan, who frequently mistreat the Lost Boys while they themselves enjoy lavish parties and the use of laudanum, a drug similar to heroin.
  • Furball is Maria's dog, who is later poisoned with laudanum by Felicia to frame Matt.
  • Eejits are mostly illegal immigrants who have been caught by El Patron when they are sneaking through Opium. They have computer chips inserted into their brains, which turns them into mindless, emotionless slaves. They are used to do simple tasks within the mansion and to harvest opium. Though most are captured illegal immigrants, some are people who angered El Patrón, such as Rosa, the maid who locked Matt in a room with sawdust and treated him brutally.
  • Tam Lin is Matt's bodyguard and father figure. El Patron gives Matt a choice between Tam Lin and Daft Donald, his other bodyguard; Matt sees a "glint of friendliness" in Tam Lin's eyes and chooses him. Matt quickly bonds with Tam Lin, who teaches Matt to climb treacherous rock-faces and live for days in the wild. He is also one of the only people who believes what Matt says about Tom. Tam Lin is later called back to El Patrón's side and leaves Matt with a cache of supplies in the hopes that when El Patrón decides to take Matt's heart for his own, Matt will escape over the nearby mountains into Aztlán to seek out the convent of Santa Clara where María lives and attends school. All of El Patrón's bodyguards are wanted criminals, and Tam Lin is no exception: he was a Scottish nationalist who laid a bomb for the British Prime Minister that accidentally killed a bus full of 20 children instead. As atonement, he drinks wine he knows El Patrón poisoned, along with all of the other Alacráns.
  • Daft Donald is a mute bodyguard who works for El Patron. He cannot speak because his vocal cords and throat were damaged in Tam Lin's terrorist mission. He was Tam Lin's accomplice in Tam Lin's little stunt as a terrorist. During El Patrón's wake, when the poisoned wine is brought out, Tam Lin tells Daft Donald not to drink. Obviously, everyone dies but him, and he seals the burial chamber off with dynamite.
  • Keepers are the adult workers who watch over the Lost Boys. Most are mean and cruel to the Lost Boys.
  • Fidelito A skinny child also kept in hand of the Keepers, Matt's friend who helps him escape.
  • Chacho- Another friend who helps Matt escape, Chacho is Matt's best friend in the plankton factory.
  • Ton-Ton is a stuttering but dedicated Lost Boy who becomes very valuable to Matt in his attempt to escape the Keepers and resolve the crisis in Opium.
  • Flaco is another Lost Boy in the Keepers' care, and the oldest in the plankton factory.
  • Mr. Ortega is Matt's deaf music teacher.
  • Steven is one of Mr. Alacran's children and Emilia's husband. He turns out to be evil and dies in the end.
  • Guapo' is an old man that Matt meets celebrating Dia de los muertos.
  • Consuela is Guapo's sister, also meets celebrating Dia de los muertos.

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