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The main protagonist who has karma and bad luck meet him at every turn.
"Someday, I'm gonna be rich and famous"
- Adorkable: Sure, he's a jerk, but he's very much a woobie, and just wants to fit in with the others. D'aww.
- Anti-Hero: And how. Type III/IV, sometimes bordering on Type V.
- Butt Monkey: Nothing goes right for him. Rodrick not only uses him as a personal punching bag, but he's quite unpopular at school and his attempts to become popular only end up making him less popular.
- Cain and Abel: Abel to Rodrick's Cain, though Greg's no saint either.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Except in one incident in a flashback when he wrote mean Valentine's Day cards to everyone in his class and the teacher never found out he did it.
- Charlie Brown Baldness: How he draws himself.
- Companion Cube: One Christmas, Mom got him a baby doll named Alfrendo which he became extremely attached to until he lost it. Then he replaced it with a grapefruit that he took care of in the same manner for the next three months.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Greg leads the police on a high-speed boat chase at the end of The Getaway, with almost no effort.
- Character Development: Greg becomes much less selfish following Hard Luck, and seems much more mature, trying to wait through Susan’s town wide electronics ban and taking the camping trip seriously in Old School
- The Chew Toy: Especially whenever Rodrick gangs up on him.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sometimes, though not to Rowley's extent. He can have some odd ideas about how the world works.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dirty Coward: Whenever the going gets tough, Greg gets going...out of here. This is best shown whenever he decides to throw Rowley under the bus for things that are his own fault. He admits himself that "when Heffleys get in trouble, Heffleys run".
- Freudian Excuse: Greg’s memories of his life seem to suggest that Rodrick bullied him throughout his whole life and the spoiling he received (which was not as extreme as Manny’s) was taken away by Manny’s birth. This led to him becoming a selfish jerk.
- Flanderization: While he becomes less selfish, he also has his more irrational thoughts and fears upped to the point he believes and iguana to be a dinosaur. His tendency to play the Straight Man and his bad luck were also upped.
- Genre Savvy: By the time of The Long Haul, Greg is smart enough to know that if he tells Susan and Frank about how he gave the Beardo kids a piece of his mind for causing a ruckus they will side against him.
- Good Is Not Nice: In stark contrast with Rowley, he is quite the jerk but he still can do the right thing.
- Greed: This is one of his usual motives. Downplayed however, as he refuses to take things that would benefit him if it costs someone something precious, as demonstrated in The Long Haul.
- The Hero
- He Who Fights Rodrick: Greg started out as a nicer, more harmless version of Manny who was spoiled but not as much and subject to Rodrick’s abuse. But Rodrick’s bullying and Manny’s birth led to him becoming the selfish Jerkass we know and love.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Rowley.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has his moments, notably in Cabin Fever where when Rowley anonymously snitches on Greg for accidently vandalizing the school, he doesn't pull Rowley into it and takes the punishment by himself. It becomes more pronounced after Hard Luck, where after Rowley abandons him and a stroke of (more) bad luck he becomes less selfish. By the time of Double Down his latest hair-brained scheme is brought down by bad luck than his own selfishness, and he even changes his plan to accommodate Rowley.
- Kids Are Cruel: He constantly zigzags from either being a victim to this or an instigator of this.
- Large Ham
- Loser Protagonist
- Nice Guy: By the time of The Long Haul, with him not really doing anything selfish for most of the novel. Unfortunately he goes back to his old ways in The Getaway and Double Down, though notably he is less selfish and much of his suffering isn’t really his fault.
- Middle Child Syndrome: The absolute king of this trope.
- Not So Different: From Rodrick.
- Only Sane Man: He can come off as this compared to the spoiled Manny and the Book Dumb Rodrick.
- Ordinary Middle School Student
- Perpetual Frowner: Almost.
- Poisonous Friend: To Rowley.
- Sweet Tooth: Justified, as he falls asleep in class if he doesn't get a sugary snack in his lunch.
- Supporting Protagonist: In The Long Haul, which is Susan’s story and The Getaway, which is Roderick‘s. The former focuses on how the fallout of Susan’s actions affect him, with him serving mostly as a Pinball Protagonist while The Getaway simply has him going through his usual bad luck with Rodrick also getting it.
- Token Good Teammate: Of the brothers, he is has the most morals, and he is one of the most decent members of his family.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Rowley, although the vitriol is mostly one-sided on his part.
- Unreliable Narrator: He often clearly twists facts to make him look better. But a lot of the crap he goes through seems plausible.
Rodrick HeffleyGreg's older brother who is a complete jerk. He also runs a failing band called Loded Diper.
- Adaptational Attractiveness
- At Arm's Length: He does this to Greg in the second movie.
- Big Brother Bully
- Big Brother Mentor: When he feels like it.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows
- Black Sheep
- Book Dumb: Played straight in most of the Films and the earlier books. Later on, however, he is genuinely stupid.
- Butt Monkey: Whenever it comes to romance. Roderick also goes through a whopper in The Getaway, getting a massive sunburn after being left behind on a scuba trip and having his vacation girlfriend cheat on him with Rodrigo.
- Cain and Abel: Cain to Greg's Abel.
- Cool Big Bro: For most of the second movie.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sometimes. "Monkeys can't speak English, stupid."
- The Ditz: He unironically believed that you get bacon from a pig the way you get eggs from a chicken, for example.
- Dreadful Musician: According to Greg.
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: In the movies.
- Flanderization: Went From Book Dumb to being unable to tell appart a microwave and a mini-safe.
- For the Evulz: Why he messes with Greg.
- Freudian Excuse: It’s implied that he only became as big a jerk as he was because Greg stole the spot from him. Subverted In that Rodrick got away with beating Greg up even then, and it is implied that Roderick treats Greg like this because his pacifier was given to a baby Greg while he was still using it. The Do-It-Yourself books suggest that it may be because of a bad breakup.
- Heavy Sleeper: "The only person I know who's better at sleeping than me is Rodrick."
- Hero of Another Story: In Roderick Rules and The Getaw he has his own story going on in the background.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: In the movies, he is played by Devon Bostick, whom horror fans may know as Brent or Boy.
- Jerkass: He constantly beats up Greg and plays pranks on him for no reason except that he can.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Only in the movies, when he becomes more caring towards Greg. In the books, he has no redeeming qualities to speak of.
- Karma Houdini: Not babied like Manny but do we ever see him get his just deserts for how he treats Greg?
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Roderick once got his concert at the talent show ruined when Susan started dancing too it, leaving him a laughingstock. There’s also The Getaway where he goes through as much abuse as Greg usually does.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor
- Perpetual Frowner
- Shirtless Scene: "Three days. No shower. Smell the love."
- Troubled but Cute: In the movies.
- The Unfavorite: Even moreso than Greg. Come to think of it, that's probably why he's such a Jerkass.
Rowley JeffersonGreg's childlike, naive best friend.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. Yowch...
- Adult Child: Teenager, but close enough.
- Butt Monkey: Often because of Greg.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Often due to his sheltered life.
- The Ditz
- Extreme Doormat: He often lets Greg walk all over him.
- Fat and Skinny: With Greg.
- Fat Best Friend
- Fat Idiot
- Foil: To Greg.
- Gentle Giant
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Greg, for better or worse.
- Kavorka Man: He gets a lot of girls to like him over the course of the books. Including Holly Hills.
- Kiddie Kid: He went to a Suck E. Cheese's for his birthday and liked it, for instance.
- The Lancer
- Nice Guy: He's a lot sweeter than Greg and rarely gets angry with him.
- Perpetual Smiler
- The Pollyanna
- Status Quo Is God: No matter how deep the rift between him and Greg gets, they always come back together in the end.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Although it's Greg who supplies most of the vitriol.
The favorite child who has become a complete sociopath.
"Wipe my heinie, ploopie!"
- Annoying Younger Sibling: No kidding.
- Baby Talk: "Wipe my heinie, Ploopy!"
- Bratty Half-Pint: He always throws tantrums to get what he wants.
- Companion Cube: The remains of his old knit blanket, which he calls "Tingy."
- Enfant Terrible: Played for laughs in book 6, where he steals supplies and leaves the rest of the family for dead during a blizzard. Greg throws out the possibility that Manny was just throwing a tantrum and didn't honestly realize he was endangering anybody, but he's not 100% convinced that's the case.
- Flanderization: Manny used to be a Spoiled Brat, but in Cabin Fever he became downright evil, planning to let the whole family freeze to death for not letting him tie his own shoes. Even then this is sketchy, and Greg even suspects he did it to improve his chances of survival of a blizzard that he would’ve been just fine in anyways.
- Now he has become more antisocial and a Cloudcuckoolander with a penchant for taking random pets.
- Karma Houdini: He can get away with messing with Greg's stuff solely because Mom and Dad baby him.
- This gets ridiculous in book 6. He gets away with the events described in the above trope. That's right, he left the family for dead during a blizzard, and didn't get punished.
- Non Standard Character Design
- Parental Favoritism
- Spoiled Brat: For example, he threw a huge tantrum at school just because his sandwich wasn't cut the way he usually likes it.
- Token Evil Teammate: Even for the Heffleys. While Frank, Greg, and Rodrick are all Jerkasses, Manny trumps them all by being willing to kill for even the most petty of reasons.
Mom (Susan Heffley)An extremely clueless mother.
- Blind Without'Em: As revealed in Cabin Fever after Manny breaks her glasses.
- Moral Guardian
- Nerd Glasses: Without being a nerd.
- Hot Mom: In the movies.
- Nice Girl: Although very misguided, she mostly means well.
- Parental Favoritism: Towards Manny.
- Parental Obliviousness: She never seems to realize that Manny's a spoiled brat, and she has no idea how teenagers work nowadays.
- The Pollyana
- Took a Level In Jerkass/Flanderization: Susan’s negative qualities are played up more in the later books, becoming a Think of the Children Moral Guardian, trying to ban electronics and attaching a tracking device to Greg’s shoe out of over protectiveness and forcing everyone to go on a surprise road trip.
- Token Not-An-Antihero Family Member: Susan is the nicest of the Heffleys, but her obliviousness and Moral Guardians crusades balance it out.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Thinks Maddox Selsam will be a good influence on Greg. It’s implied that this is because he doesn’t use electronics. She also sides againsts Greg when Maddox accuses Greg of stealing a Lego (it was stuck to Greg’s arm and an inch-wide, so Greg didn’t notice it).
Dad (Frank Heffley)A jerk who acts like he's in his 80's.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the Films he is much less strict on his sons than Susan is.
- Bumbling Dad: Averted in the books, but played straight in the movies.
- Butt Monkey: In the Long Haul.
- Perpetual Frowner
- Jerkass: At times. He's a bit of an asshole to his sons.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He shows that he cares for his sons at times.
- Large Ham: In the movies, he's pretty hammy.
- Serious Business: His toy American Civil War battlefield. Respect it.
- The Stoic
- Took a Level In Kindness: Frank became much more layed back and served as a Straight Man to Susan.
- The Un-Reveal: It's never shown what he does for a job.
Chirag GuptaA kid Greg pranced with the "Invisible Chirag" prank. He makes his last appearance in the Long Haul.
- Ascended Extra: In the movies.
- Butt Monkey: Usually gets bulldozed over because of his height.
- Funny Foreigner: The movie states that he is from India.
- Mr. Exposition: Tells Greg and Rowley about the Cheese in the first movie and Holly Hills in the second.
- The Napoleon
- Stalker with a Crush: "What? I Googled her."
- Token Minority
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Briefly in the second movie.
Holly HillsA popular girl who Greg tries to impress. It only works in the films.
- The Ace: Female version. Summed up by Chirag - "She is an all-star soccer player, has done professional modeling and was her sixth grade class president. ...What? I Googled her!"
- All Love Is Unrequited: Greg's crush on her. The movie version, however, implies she may return his feelings because they're Not So Different.
- Hair of Gold
- Nice Girl: In the Films.
- Shallow Love Interest: More so in the books. In the second movie, she gets more personality.
"Wanna see my secret freckle?"
An odd classmate of Greg.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's obsessed with showing people his belly button and is apparently friends with a taxidermy squirrel, as shown in the movie.
- Eye Glasses
- Nerd Glasses
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: He tends to unintentionally creep out other people with his weird behaviors.
- Non Standard Character Design
- Perpetual Smiler
- Potty Dance: In the books. Accompanied with his cry of "JUUUUUICE!"
The Heffley’s Pig
The Heffley's surprisingly intelligent pig. Introduced in the tenth book.
- Denser and Wackier: The Pig showcases intelligence and behavior that contrast with the realistic setting and makes appearances that seem surreal.
- Flanderization: The Pig went from intelligent, but still an animal, to a downright genius. It went from wanting to escape to walking upright and attempting communication.
- Intellectual Animal: He managed to use a See n' Say correctly to make it say "Pig eat ice cream" and later learns to walk on two legs.
- Put On the Bus: After being excluded from the vacation in The Getaway, the Pig is sent to obedience school and runs away on it’s second day there. The Pig never gets found by the Heffleys, though Greg believes it’s somewhere warm living it up. Given that he's still missing even after it snows, it realistically may have died.
- The Millstone: The Pig often hinders the Heffleys, often doing things like eating all the food at a hotel room’s mini-bar and eating Greg’s jar of candy corn and vomiting it up, getting Greg in trouble.
- True Companions: With Manny.
Meemaw and Peepaw
Some of Greg's older relatives. Meemaw dies prior to Hard Luck.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Meemaw sometimes hid Easter eggs in weird places, including the toilet. She also put strange gifts in there too, such as dental floss and a used tissue.
- Killed Off for Real: Meemaw. Peepaw got this to prior to Double Down.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Peepaw appears among Greg's dead relatives in Double Down.
Greg's really old relative who serves as the primary antagonist of The Ugly Truth.
- Obfuscating Insanity: Well, Greg definitely thinks she's doing this.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: She has a similar fate to Peepaw.
- Put On the Bus: After the third book.
- Killed Off for Real
Great Uncle Bruce
Part of Greg's family. He dies.
Greg's uncle, who's a lazy bum.
Greg's uncle who has a large, stable, family.
Greg, Roderick, and Manny’s grandmother and Susan’s mother who is somewhat lonely.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Conspiracy Theorist: Reads tabloids and wholeheartedly believes what they say.
- The Chew Toy: Implied. Her dog dies and Greg and Rodrick barely clean up her lawn.
A movie-only character.
- Big Sister Mentor: Tries to be this to Greg and Rowley, but Greg won't listen to her.
- Deadpan Snarker: "This place is an intellectual wasteland."
- Hey, It's That Guy!: She is played by Chloe Grace Moretz, best known as Hit Girl.
- Hot Scoop
- Middle School Is Hell: Seems to have this view.
- School Newspaper Newshound