The Shining Character List 📖

‘The Shining’ by Stephen King is a novel filled with richly complex characters. These include the three central characters and supernatural entities.

The Shining

Stephen King

The author’s skill with character development and inspiring readers to care about the fates of major and secondary characters are seen quite quickly in this novel. For example, despite Jack’s role as an antagonist, he is still a deeply sympathetic character. The same can be said for the entities who suffered terrible fates within the hotel and still reside there.

The Shining Characters

Jack Torrance 

Jack Torrance is the main character of Stephen King’s ‘The Shining‘. At times, he is both a protagonist and an antagonist. At the beginning of the novel, readers are introduced to Jack as an alcoholic, father, and husband. With some background, readers learned that Jack broke his son Danny’s arm while drunk, an event that helped to inspire him to become sober.

Jack takes a job at the Overlook Hotel as a winter caretaker. This means that he and his family, his son Danny and his wife Wendy, are going to spend the winter there alone. Jack is initially happy, but the hotel begins to assert its negative influence. His mental health plummets, and he begins to sense that there’s something very wrong. Jack tries to resist his violent impulses and ignore the haunting images he’s seeing around him, but it’s not so easy. 

Jack eventually goes insane under the hotel’s influence and tries to kill his family. At the end of the novel, he is killed when the hotel boiler explodes.

Danny Torrance 

Danny is the true protagonist of the novel. He is the son of Jack and Wendy Torrance and accompanies his parents to live at the Overlook Hotel for the winter season. He is only five years old during the events of the novel, but he’s already aware that he has special abilities. He can “shine.” Meaning that he can read people’s thoughts and emotions. He also has a higher sensitivity to strange occurrences in the hotel. 

One of his visions is that of his imaginary friend, Tony. Tony shows Danny horrifying things in the hotel, such as a roque mallet wielded by a dark, unknown figure (eventually revealed to be his father) and the word “Redrum.” 

At the hotel, Danny meets Dick Hallorann, an older man who has many of the same abilities that Danny does. Dick notes that Danny has the strongest “shine” of anyone he has met. As the novel progresses, Danny realizes that his father is slowly going insane. With his imaginary friend’s help, Danny figures out that his father is taking on the negativity of the hotel. Danny escapes the hotel along with his mother and Dick Hallorann. 

Wendy Torrance 

Wendy Torrance is the mother of Danny and the wife of Jack Torrance. She accompanies her husband to his new seasonal job at the Overlook Hotel. Throughout the course of the novel, readers learn about Wendy’s relationship with her mother, a difficult one, and her relationship with her husband. Their marriage began happily, but Jack started drinking after their son was born.

Wendy experienced resentment and embarrassment at her husband’s drinking and even considered divorcing him. She is willing to travel with her husband to his new job despite her depression and general unhappiness with her marriage.

She experiences intense worry for her son, whose arm was broken by his drunk father only months ago. She suspects that her husband has begun abusing her son after Danny experienced an assault at the hands of a supernatural entity.

Wendy experiences an attack by her possessed husband towards the end of the novel. But she maintains her strength and escapes the hotel with her son.

Dick Hallorann 

Dick Hallorann is the chef at the Overlook Hotel. Danny and his parents meet Dick when they arrive there for the winter season. He has the “shine” as Danny does. This means that he can read people’s thoughts and sense their emotions. But, his abilities are not as strong as the five-year-olds. He helps Danny understand his powers while also warning him about the supernatural darkness that resides within the hotel. He is able to pass telepathic messages back and forth with Danny across long distances. 

When Dick Hallorann returns to the hotel, after feeling that Danny needs help, he goes up against Danny’s father, Jack, and the animal topiaries in front of the hotel. He’s nearly killed, but he escapes the hotel along with Wendy and Danny. He is one of Stephen King’s most memorable secondary characters.


Tony is Danny’s imaginary friend who helps Danny see the future and understand what’s going on around him. This includes images of an unknown figure wielding a roque mallet, the location of Jack’s trunk, and more. One of the most important is an image of mirrors with the word “Redrum” written on them. 

Tony is written off by Danny’s parents and his doctor, Dr. Edmonds, as an invention of his mind. They believe Danny invented him in order to deal with the stress after his father broke his arm and his parents were considering getting divorced. Since Tony has become a more confusing presence. He embodies the part of Danny that is fueled by intuition and “his shine.” One of the most important parts of the novel is Tony’s assertion that Danny will remember something that his father forgot. That is revealed to be the hotel’s boiler which needs to be regularly checked.

Jack’s Mother 

Jack Torrance’s mother goes unnamed within the novel. But, based on Jack’s recollections, she was the victim of her husband, Jack’s father’s, abuse. There is a connection between what Jack’s mother went through and what he’s putting his own wife, Wendy, through.

Mark Anthony Torrance 

Mark Anthony Torrance is Jack’s father. He was an alcoholic and abusive husband, as Jack has proven to be. Jack had a complicated relationship with his father. Jack experiences sympathy for his father at the end of the novel when his mind is thoroughly corrupted by the hotel.

Wendy’s Parents 

Little is revealed about Wendy’s parents within the novel. They go unnamed, but readers are aware that they are divorced and had a complicated relationship, as Wendy has with her husband. Wendy’s mother blames her daughter for their divorce.


Watson is the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during the main season. His great-grandfather built the Overlook, completing it in 1909. He shows Jack the boiler in the cellar and tells him how important it is to check it.

Grady Twins 

The Grady Twins are two little girls who are murdered by their father, Delbert Grady when he is possessed by a ghost in the Overlook. The twins are one of the most memorable images of the novel’s later film adaptation.

Delbert Grady 

Delbert Grady is the deceased father of the Grady twins. He murdered them during his time as a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. His history helps solidify how dangerous the hotel is for families.

Al Shockley 

A member of the Board of Directors of the hotel and a former drinking buddy of Jack’s. Al’s alcoholism helps to inspire Jack to quit drinking. The two may have killed a child while driving drunk but a body was never discovered.

Mr. Ullman 

Mr. Ullman is the general manager of the Overlook Hotel. He is described as unpleasant and short. He is disliked by the staff. He only hires Jack as a caretaker because Al encouraged him to.

Horace Derwent 

A billionaire and renovator of the hotel after World War II. He threw a ball in August 1945 that can be seen replaying itself throughout the novel. One of the primary images of Derwent is when he is teasing Roger, who is dressed in a dog costume. He represents the real-life darkness of the hotel. 

Delores Vickery 

Delores Vickery is a character who, as described by Dick Hallorann, is not a very nice person. She is a chambermaid who sees the ghost of Mrs. Massey. 

The Woman in 217 (Mrs. Massey) 

Mrs. Massey, or the woman in Room 217, is another one of the most memorable supernatural images in ‘The Shining. She committed suicide in the room in 1975. During her life, she was the wife of a lawyer in New York. She is the most recent death in the hotel and is more zombie-like than ghost-like.


Is The Shining a true story?

The Shining‘ is a fictional story written by Stephen King. But, it is based around the legendary hauntings within Colorado’s Stanley Hotel. 

Why is Jack crazy in The Shining?

Despite his desire for a fresh start, Jack goes “crazy” in ‘The Shining‘ due to the negative influence of the hotel itself. The evil spirits that inhabit the hotel eventually drive him insane. They turned him back to his alcoholic past and made him act on his violent impulses.

Who is the protagonist in The Shining

The protagonist is Danny Torrance, the son of Wendy and Jack Torrance, a five-year-old boy. He comes to the hotel along with his parents for the winter season and has to contend with the dark entities residing within the building and the way they transform his father.

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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