Conor is the novel's protagonist and point-of-view character. At thirteen, Conor is haunted by a dream in which his terminally ill mother's hands slip from his grasp. He is also the victim of bullying at school. Prone to anger and isolation, Conor learns with the monster's help to accept the unfair reality of his mother's impending death.
Conor's grandmother is a real estate agent in her sixties. She briefly moves in to Conor's mother's house when the cancer treatments leave Conor's mother weak, and Conor later moves in with her. Conor dislikes how she doesn't behave like most grandmothers, as she doesn't cook, dyes her hair, and is bossy toward Conor.
Harry is a student at Conor’s school who taunts and physically assaults Conor on a daily basis. As a top-scoring student and "Blond Wonder Child," Harry is able to obscure his bullying tendencies by impressing teachers.
Conor's mother is undergoing chemotherapy treatments throughout the novel. She has lost her hair from the treatments, and sometimes covers her bald head with scarves. Her condition worsens over the course of the book.
Conor's father lives in America with his new wife and their baby daughter. Conor feels alienated by the way Conor's father's accent and pet names have changed since he moved to the States. When Conor asks to live with his father instead of his grandmother, Conor's father says there isn't enough room for him.
Lily is Conor's longtime friend from whom he becomes estranged after she tells people at school about his mother's cancer. Lily defends Conor against bullies but Conor still rejects her friendship. She is teased for her curly hair.
Miss Kwan is the Head of Year for Conor's grade. She tries to get Conor to open up about what he is going through at home and on the playground with Harry and the other bullies. She is depicted as being strict and having a permanent frown.
Mrs. Marl is Conor's English teacher. She assigns a life-writing project that asks students to write about the most significant events of their life. Conor never completes the assignment, although it prompts him to think about the most unhappy events of his life.
The monster is an ancient creature based on the mythological figure of the Green Man, who is associated with the natural seasonal cycle of spring regrowth. The monster can take many forms, but it chooses to take its humanoid form by transforming from the yew tree in the churchyard near Conor's house. The monster comes in order to intervene in Conor's life and help him heal by facing the truth of his seemingly contradictory feelings toward his mother's death.
Sully and Anton
Sully and Anton are Harry's friends and fellow bullies. While Harry is the only one who touches Conor, the other two taunt Conor and egg on Harry.
Stephanie is Conor's father's new American wife and the mother of Conor's half-sister. She is only mentioned briefly in the novel.
The Apothecary is one of the protagonists from the monster's second tale. The Apothecary is greedy and charges too much for his remedies, but the monster reminds Conor that he is at least an effective healer.
The parson is the foil character to the Apothecary. While it seems as though the parson is the better of the two, the monster explains that the parson stood for nothing because he was willing to sacrifice all belief for selfish means.
The queen is the antagonist of the monster's first tale. The monster says that while she is indeed an evil witch, she is also a good and fair ruler.
The heir is the protagonist of the monster's story about the wicked queen. Although his narrative is centered in the monster's first telling of the tale, the monster later reveals that the heir actually murdered his lover in order to frame the queen and incite a mob of villagers to attack her castle.
A Monster Calls Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for A Monster Calls is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.