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Written by Jody Perry
Joey (War Horse)
Joey is the anthropomorphic narrator and hero of the novel. He is a beautiful red bay with a white star on his forehead and four equal-length white socks. He is purchased as a young horse by a farmer and quickly develops an incrediblly deep bond with the farmer's son, Albert. Joey is a hard worker who learns quickly and has a good grasp of what is required from him. He is courageous and determined, loyal and brave. He warms quickly to people when shown even the smallest amount of kindness. He is very adaptable and deals well with each different situation that faces him; as a War Horse, he is at his happiest when he and his best friend Topthor pull ambulance carts as it reminds him of his life with Albert on the farm. He never stops loving Albert and believes wholeheartedly in their eventual reunion, filled with joy when it actually happens.
Albert is a gentle young man who bonds immediately and deeply with his horse, Joey. He is a hard worker and put countless hours into Joey's training, placing Joey's needs squarely ahead of his own. Although too young to join the Army when Joey is sold to them, he determines to become a soldier just so he can find Joey and bring him home safely. He believes in their bond and in their ability to endure together. He is bullied by his father whom he dislikes, and frustrated by his mother who will not stand up to his father. Albert is a sensitive, quietly courageous young man who returns to his village a hero.
Albert's mother is the quiet strength that underpins the Narracott family but her hands are tied by the rules and traditions of the time that prevented a woman from overriding the day of her husband. Her work ethic is deeply ingrained and she is matter-of-fact in most situations. She is very demonstrative in her love for Albert and clearly a loving, encouraging and very protective mother.
Father is a bully of a man with no time for empathy or sentiment. He expresses himself with his fists and is proud and competitive, only acquiring Joey in the first place because he did not want to lose an auction to the neighbor he particularly dislikes. His bluster does hide love for his family and he is a changed man after selling Joey to the Army, becoming more gentle and less prone to bad temper.
Zoey is a sweet older farm horse who takes Joey under her wing on the farm and helps him learn the skills necessary for success as a farm horse. She is placid and obedient and very much trusted. She and Joey have a close, mother/son type of bond.
Captain Nicholls purchases Joey for himself from Albert's father. He captains a mounted regiment and is a strong leader. He loves his horses and protects Joey, making sure that he receives extra rations and the best treatment available. Although he is a strong leader, instilling confidence into his men; in reality, he is scared at the battles to come and confides in Joey his feelings about the futility of the War. A man of his word, he sketches and paints Joey's portrait so that he can send these to Albert, having promised to let him know how Joey is doing. Captain Nicholls is killed in their first battle and dies a hero.
Corporal Samuel Perkins
Corporal Perkins is an ex-jockey and is a small, wiry little man who seems to treat the horses harshly to make up for his own lack of stature and feelings of powerlessness. He becomes less rough with Joey after being rebuked by Captain Nicholls.
Topthorn is a beautiful and imposing black horse who rides alongside Joey at the front of the cavalry. He is Joey's best friend and confidante, almost dying due to illness but fighting his way back. Tragically he does not survive the war.
Trooper Warren is the soldier who rides Joey after the death of Captain Nicholls. He likes to read Joey his letters from home. He is an inexperienced rider who rocks in the saddle but what he lacks in horsemanship he makes up for in love and the attention he gives Joey whom he adores. He is a fearful, gentle young man who is not cut out for battle and is captured by the German army after an attack.
Emilie is a little girl who lives with her Grandfather on a farm in France that is taken over by the German army as their base cam. She is tiny and frail, having been very ill, but is cheered enormously by the arrival of Joey and Topthore. Despite her small size, she is confident around such large animals and is chatty and talkative with them. Her kindness keeps the spirits of the horses raised. When they are called upon to leave for battle Emilie's condition deteriorates and she passes away soon afterwards.
Crazy Old Friedrich is so called by the German soldiers because he talks to himself, but he tells Joey he talks to himself because nobody else understands him. He feels he is the only same person in the platoon because he does not want to be at war. He sees how futile it is and that the soldiers are being manipulated by their leader; all he wants is to go back to Germany and go back to being Butcher Friedrich. He is very loving towards Joey and they develop a strong friendship.
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We get the fact that the narrator is a horse who grew up on a farm. Some mean drunken men buy a pony from a mother horse. The pony ends up at a nice farmer's house. The boy of the farm, Albert, falls in love with the horse and names him Joey.