The protagonist of the story, Wade is an 18-year-old American boy living in a subdivided trailer home with his aunt on the outskirts of Oklahoma City. In the OASIS public school system, he goes by the name of Wade3, while outside of school he is known as Parzival, named after the knight Percival from Arthurian folklore who was known for his quest for the Holy Grail. Like millions of other young people all over the world, Wade has dedicated his life to finding an "easter egg" hidden in the OASIS simulation by its recently deceased creator, James Halliday. In spite of his poverty, Wade is incredibly well-versed in 80's pop culture and in Oology, which in the OASIS is defined as the science of hunting down Halliday's easter egg. The immense treasure and power rumored to be granted to the finder of the easter egg is Wade's prime motivation for his quest for the egg.
Aech is Wade's best friend in the OASIS simulation and a hunter of Halliday's Easter egg. In the OASIS, Aech appears as a white Caucasian male, although later in the book Aech is revealed to actually be an 18-year old homosexual African-American female. The early parts of the book showcase Aech's and Parzival's friendship, where their common interests in pop culture and the hunt for Halliday's Easter egg bring them close despite the disparity in their wealth and skill level in the OASIS. (In the OASIS, Aech's avatar participates in player-versus-player matches which are the primary source of income for Aech. As a result, Aech is a high-level avatar in the OASIS while Parzival's poverty means that his avatar remains relatively low-level.)
Samantha Evelyn Cook/Art3mis
Art3mis is a high-level gunter in the OASIS and maintains a blog about her exploits in the OASIS, which Wade reads avidly. Wade also has a cyber-crush on her, although he initially dismisses it as mere fantasy. She is the first gunter after Parzival to obtain the Copper Key, one of three keys vital to finding Halliday's Easter egg. In their mutual quest for the Easter egg, they grow close, although their rivalry over the quest eventually leads to their falling out. Towards the end of the book, they manage to meet in person, and Wade is able to confess his love to her.
A Japanese gunter who, with his partner Shoto, is the fourth to uncover the Copper key after Parzival, Art3mis, and Aech. He is a brother figure to Shoto, both having initially met in an OASIS support group for otaku (the Japanese term for reclusive youth who spend all of their time indoors on the internet, or in this case, the OASIS). Daito and Shoto worked closely together as a team to find the rest of the keys and uncover the Easter egg, sometimes collaborating with Parzival, until Daito's demise in the OASIS and in real life at the hands of Interactive Online Innovations, an international mega-corporation with a vested interest in finding Halliday's Easter egg.
A Japanese gunter and partner to Daito. Shoto appears as a 13-year-old Japanese boy in the OASIS, and is the younger brother to Daito's avatar in the OASIS, despite not having any other connections with Daito outside of the OASIS. Upon Daito's death, Shoto gives Parzival one of Daito's belongings: the Beta Capsule—which, when used in the OASIS, transforms the user into Ultraman—trusting Parzival to use it at the right time to avenge Daito's death.
James Donovan Halliday/Anorak
Once a prominent game designer and the now-deceased creator of the OASIS, a massive online simulation used by billions of people worldwide. It is through his frequently-mentioned book in the story, Anorak's Almanac, that most of the details about his character become known to the reader. Before his death, Halliday created an Easter egg inside the OASIS simulation and created a quest for the Easter egg that drew heavily on the video games and popular culture of his childhood. In real life he was socially awkward, known to walk out of interviews when he lost interest. After losing his love interest to his best friend and co-founder of the OASIS Ogden Morrow, Halliday went into seclusion in his residence, where he spent the last few years of his life coding the quest for his Easter egg.
Ogden "Og" Morrow
A former colleague of Halliday and co-creator of the OASIS, Ogden Morrow once ran Gregarious Simulation Systems with James Halliday, maintaining the OASIS. Currently a wealthy creator of educational video games with his wife Kira, Ogden still respects the last wish of his former friend Halliday to help monitor the hunt for Halliday's Easter egg with the intent of keeping the hunt fair and clean of cheating or any other unsavory practices. As a result, he holds a dim view of Interactive Online Innovations' role in the hunt for the egg, seeing their intention to take over and ultimately monetize the OASIS as a corruption of Halliday's view of the OASIS as an online utopia for the less fortunate.
A former game developer and now the head of IOI's Oology department, Sorrento is the main antagonist of the story. With the vast resources of IOI, both in the OASIS and in reality, at his disposal, his heavy-handed tactics in leading his company's search for the Easter egg have made him a target for the scorn of the gunter community. At the beginning of the book, he orders the assassination of Wade after his discovery of the first key in hopes of removing Wade, now a dangerous competitor, from the hunt by blowing up his trailer home, killing dozens of innocents while Wade manages to escape unscathed. Further on, Parzival also uncovers a plan by Nolan to abduct Art3mis and Shoto from their homes to force them to aid IOI in their quest for the egg. At the end of the book, he is arrested for the death of Daito.
Ready Player One Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Ready Player One is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I don't like it. This is clearly a dystopian world. As a novel set in 2044 with the fossil fuel and global warming crises, Cline undeniably inhabits the dystopian genre. And as any dystopian society, there are those who suffered and those that did...