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Modeled after Alésia Glidewell, voiced by Mary Kae Irvin
The silent main character of both games, Chell is an incredibly determined woman wearing an orange jumpsuit. Her exploits begin when GLaDOS awakens her from stasis to run a series of tests in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center for mysterious reasons.
- Action Girl: See Badass below.
- Ambiguously Brown: Her face and body model had a Brazilian father and a Japanese mother.
- Badass: Just look at her moves in this trailer and try to claim otherwise. Then again, being put through 20 chambers of testing hell will make anyone into a chiseled badass.
- Determinator: Pathologically so. According to her personnel file (in the Lab Rat comic), she's way ahead of the bell curve for tenacity. As it turns out, when you're dealing with GLaDOS, cleverness and athleticism are ultimately less important than sheer stubborn refusal to give up.
Proctor's note: Test subject is abnormally stubborn. She never gives up. Ever. Do NOT Test.
- Guile Hero
- Heroic Mime: GLaDOS even complains about her lack of response in the final chamber. "Are you even listening to me?" In the sequel, Wheatley seems to think that overexposure to the stasis process left her unable to talk; when he asks her to, she just jumps. GLaDOS even calls her a "mute lunatic."
- Word of God from writer Erik Wolpaw: "She just chooses not to, what with the robots all being dicks. Why give them the satisfaction?".
- "Why should Aperture Science accept you as a research volunteer, and would anyone file a police report if you went missing? HR Note: Subject refused to answer."
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: There really was a cake. She never did get it, though.
- Late to the Party: In the first game, she goes through tests before she finds out what happened. In the second game, this time, she's really late.
- Made of Iron: Aside from falling, which is explicitly handwaved by her foot protection, Chell can survive things no human should be able to, but that's largely due to Gameplay and Story Segregation (the story probably assumes Chell is badass enough not to ever get shot, for example). However, one specific example of this being played straight is when she survives Wheatley blowing up the stalemate button. Even he's shocked. And then she spends several seconds in vacuum. On the other hand, Chell spends at least twelve hours unconscious afterwards, so even she has limits.
- Mysterious Past: We never do find out exactly who Chell is. GLaDOS likes to claim she's an orphan, which is literally true given how long she's been frozen. In the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day experiment section in Portal 2, one of the potato experiments was done by a little girl named Chell whose father worked at Aperture. It's the one with the potato that's grown through the ceiling -- it's clearly as determined as Chell herself.
- No Last Name Given: We can see her personnel file in the Lab Rat comic, but it just gives her name as "Chell [redacted]."
- Overdrawn At the Blood Bank: Chell can take tons of turret shots, and leaves large blood smears on walls when hit in the first game. 5 seconds, and you're okay again, ready to lose another three pints.
- Parental Abandonment: One of GLaDOS's favorite barbs is to claim Chell was abandoned by her birth parents and later adopted.
- Phlebotinum Rebel
- Progressively Prettier: By the looks of her design in the second game, it seems to imply she found some moisturizer, make up, and a hair brush, and fixed those stray gray hairs of hers. Perhaps the Party Escort Bot fixed her up to look good for the party.
- Required Secondary Gadgetry: Chell wears a pair of ankle-springs in order to ensure her legs aren't shattered when she comes flying out of a portal. The commentary bubbles indicate early on that the reason was that playtesters complained that Chell could survive falls that would kill Gordon Freeman. Despite the fact that the springs are patently insufficient to protect her, they stopped the complaints, so mission accomplished!
- In Portal 2, these have been updated to full shoes called the Aperture Science Long Fall Boot, a "foot-based suit of armor" that's implied to have some kind of balance system forcing the wearer to land on her feet no matter what. This makes their ability to protect her slightly more justifiable.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: When Wheatley tells you to do yourself a favor and commit suicide because once you reach his lair he'll definitely kill you, you can set up a portal network that throws a mine at his monitor.
Wheatley: I'll take that as a "no," then.
- She can smash monitors in almost all the test chambers, and can even get an achievement for doing it eleven times.
- Stock Footage: The reason the Heroic Mime character has a voice credit here is because her grunts of pain from the first game are recycled from the female Citizens in Half Life.
Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS)
The artificial intelligence that seems to run Aperture Science. GLaDOS portrays herself as a helpful friend to Chell, but soon unveils a oddly sociopathic side to the testing protocols and a cruel side to her personality. As the game goes on, she becomes more and more sadistic, culminating in a violent confrontation as Chell attempts to escape the testing center. Chell apparently destroys GLaDOS, but at the end of the game she is revealed to have a backup memory and Chell is dragged back to Aperture Science. Years later, Chell and Wheatley unintentionally reboot her. Needless to say, she has a bone to pick with her murderer.
- AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Done by having Ellen McLain imitate a text-to-speech program's inflections.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot
- And I Must Scream: According to her, she was forced to spend the hundreds of years in between the two games watching a recording the two minutes leading up to her destruction over and over and over again, due to her blackbox feature.. Of course, it's according to her, a pathological liar.
- Anthropomorphic Shift: An interesting example. Although she's always been based on the human form (on Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," in fact), the original game's GLaDOS is far less relatable: her head is a grey semi-ellipsoid with a fixed yellow eye, and she doesn't have any body language to speak of. In the sequel she has a lot more emoting to do, so she was given a white, squared-off head (suggesting a certain sternness of jaw) with a much more expressive eye and vastly more human-like body language.
- Ax Crazy: If slaughtering the majority of Aperture Science on bring-your-daughter-to-work-day within less than a picosecond of activation is any indication.
- Back from the Dead: In Portal 2.
- Bad Boss: GLaDOS treats her custom robots the same way she treats everyone:
"Don't disappoint me. Or I'll make you wish you could die."
- Bad Liar: GLaDOS is very surprised you successfully completed the test, and it shows.
- Baleful Polymorph: Wheatley downloads her into a potato battery. So, how are you holding up? Because I'm a potato.
- Big OMG: "Oh. My. God. It's the bird! Run! I have no plan for this! Abort! Forget your training! RUN!"
- Black Comedy: GLaDOS's sense of humor.
- The Cake Is a Lie: Is this even a spoiler anymore?
- Captain Ersatz: Her personality in the first game was basically Lighter and Softer version of SHODAN. She grew out of that in the second game.
- Cores and Turrets Boss
- Creepy Monotone: Or at least very passive-aggressive. And then when you destroy the Morality Sphere and GLaDOS switches from robotic monotone to an emotive, almost seductive voice, the contrast is actually creepier than the robotic monotone that you've been listening to all game. By the second game she has achieved a happy medium between the two, sounding very close to a human with some slight robotic affectation.
- Curious as a Monkey: Her curiosity sphere.
"Ooh, what's that? What's that? What is that? Ooh, that thing has numbers on it! Hey, you're the lady from the test! Is that a gun? What's wrong with your legs? Do you smell something burning? *SCREAM*"
- Cute Machines: Her spheres.
- Cyber Cyclops
- Deadpan Snarker: So much so that she is the Goddess of it in our Pantheon. That should tell you something.
- Electronic Speech Impediment: But only to begin with.
- Even Evil Has Standards: In the Peer Review DLC, when GLaDOS searches for insults to hurl at Atlas and P-body, she comes across a Your Mom joke. Before she is able to finish it, she declares that "That's just disgusting. Keep testing instead".
- Evil Is Petty: Piss her off and she'll start ranting about how you're ugly, not very smart, and nobody ever liked you anyway.
- Lampshaded by GLaDOS herself as soon as Wheatley starts trying to copy her insults.
- False Reassurance: GLaDOS is quite fond of these.
- Final Boss
- For Science!: Her primary motivation. Allegedly. She has an odd understanding of what science is, though.
- Freudian Excuse: For all of her insanity and cruelty, Portal 2 implies the mainframe she's plugged into is designed to make her somewhat crazy. The personality cores attached to her also influence her behavior in odd ways, and she begins to show signs of being slightly nicer when freed of them. Not to mention the process of Caroline having her mind uploaded (against her will no less) was implied to be pretty traumatic, and thus may have been a trigger for GLaDOS attempting to kill the scientists 1/16 of a picosecond after being activated.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: In a meta sort of way. At the start of the game, there's no indication that her voice is anything but slightly glitchy prerecorded messages. Flash forward to the end of the game, and that same voice is the final boss.
- And also in a much less meta sort of way: she goes from being a subservient secretary to a tightly monitored mainframe computer/testing program to the unchallenged goddess-queen of a vast underground empire.
- Geeky Turn On: She gets particularly... excited at the end of the co-op campaign when you and your partner find a cache of human test subjects locked in stasis.
- Genius Loci: The entirety of the Enrichment Center is essentially an extension of her body, since she controls and maintains everything.
- Haunted Technology
- Heel Face Turn: Arguably in the second half of Portal 2 as soon as Wheatley betrays Chell, takes over GLaDOS, and puts her core into a potato. She and Chell reluctantly team up, and once the facility is restored, she saves Chell's life and lets her go along with the original Companion Cube - although she claims it's just because killing Chell is too much trouble.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The boss fight in Portal 1. "Huh. That core may have had some ancillary responsibilities. I can't shut off the turret defenses. Oh well. If you want my advice, you should just lie down in front of a rocket..." *BOOM*
- In the sequel, her taunting Wheatley after he becomes the central sphere enrages him so much that he puts her into a potato, barely able to function without using up the tiny amount of power it generates. She gets better.
- Humans Are Special: Sort of acknowledged in a cut line from Portal 2:
Humans must have some purpose other than a place to store your neurotoxin -- something I failed to notice before; an intangible quality that makes their test results significant.
- Ignored Epiphany: From Portal 2's ending:
GLaDOS: You know, being Caroline taught me a valuable lesson. I thought you were my greatest enemy. When all along you were my best friend. The surge of emotion that shot through me when I saved your life taught me an even more valuable lesson: where Caroline lives in my brain.
- In Love with Your Carnage: Gets especially excited at Cave's maniacal When Life Gives You Lemons rant, particularly when he talks of burning houses down.
GLaDOS: Burning people! He says what we're all thinking!
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: When trying to boost the self-confidence of P-Body and Atlas, GLaDOS informs them that she was born with a crippling imperfection—too much sympathy toward human suffering. She proudly informs them that she overcame that weakness.
- Killer Game Master: GLaDOS acts similar to this, throwing difficult scenarios at you, lying in order to confuse and torment you, and live-ammo courses in place of the original courses. When you go Off the Rails, she tries to lasso you back in with lies before resorting to overkill methods.
- Know When to Fold'Em: Eventually decides killing Chell is more trouble then it's worth and just lets her go free. At least, she says that's why she's doing it.
- Lethal Chef: The core with the Cake Recipe suggests multiple garnishes including fish-shaped solid waste, sediment-shaped sediment, two needle injectors, one cup rhubarb on fire, and a blog entry entitled "How to Kill Someone With Your Bare Hands". On a chocolate cake.
- Load-Bearing Boss: She says she has no idea what's going on outside, only that she's the only thing keeping us safe from "them" (presumably the Combine from Half-Life 2). Once you destroy the last personality core, her mechanism goes into meltdown and blows you and bits of GLaDOS out of the building. The fact that GLaDOS has to continuously maintain the facility is made explicit in Portal 2, where the facility's nuclear power generator goes critical because Wheatley is too stupid to stay on top of its upkeep.
- Long List: One of her personality cores in the first game has the sole function of reciting a long, bizarre cake recipe.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: GLaDOS's VA also plays The Announcer and The Combine Overwatch. But listen to her commentary in the first game. She's so nice! ...She does have a bit of a Evil Laugh, though.
- When confronted on this at a book signing, Ellen jokingly said otherwise.
Ellen McLain: I'm only sweet sometimes. (Points to her husband) Ask him.
- Mind Hive: Portal 2 reveals that she experiences those personality cores as maddening, constantly babbling voices in her mind. After The Reveal, she becomes aware of Caroline's persona within her as "the voice of a conscience [...] my voice." She finds that even more disturbing.
- Mission Control: Though it's won't be long before you doubt she has your interests at heart. And then "mission" becomes "be incinerated"...
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Oh, so very much.
- Moral Myopia: It's okay when she tries to kill you, but you kill her, it's murder.
"The difference between us is that I can feel pain."
- Not Quite Dead: As if the ending song didn't give it away, GLaDOS is revived in the sequel and ready to conduct several new tests on the player.
- Obviously Evil: In Portal 2. At least, it was like that at first.
- Pet the Dog: For all she claims to only be acting out of self-interest and laziness, she really didn't have to save Chell's life or give her the Companion Cube at the end of Portal 2.
- In the Art Therapy downloadable content, she winds up adopting some baby birds that were abandoned by their mother...so she can turn them into killing machines.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Wheatley in the sequel. GLaDOS is the Blue Oni.
- Their colors are inverted, with Wheatley being blue and GLaDOS being red (well, her optic is yellow, but close enough in the circumstances).
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Caroline really didn't want to be uploaded. As soon as she was turned on, GLaDOS proved completely uncontrollable for the Aperture scientists and had them all killed or placed in suspended animation.
- Sarcastic Clapping: GLaDOS has an entire processor devoted solely to this, or so she claims.
- Self-Proclaimed Liar
- Shaped Like Itself: Her Logic/Intelligence/Knowledge Core, when describing cake garnishes:
- Sinister Surveillance: With those cameras of hers always trained on you, and her being able to detect you even after escaping the fire pit in the first game, she's always watching you. Always.
- Sour Grapes: GLaDOS is full of this after you escape from her fire trap, up through and including the end credits. Of the second game.
- Stealth Insult: Her favorite technique for gradually destroying a test subject's self-esteem.
- Time Limit Boss: GLaDOS pumps the room with neurotoxin during your fight with her.
- Troll: She spends a great deal of time saying things designed to anger or demoralize Chell, out of spite.
- Tsundere: A really, really, really extreme Type A -- oh, she hates Chell, but there are definite hints that her emotions toward her are considerably more complicated than just hatred. Many players see it as a case of Stalker with a Crush or My Beloved Smother, depending on how you interpret her personality and the hints about her background.
- The Unintelligible: The Anger Core. In fact, it sounds creepily like a rabid dog.
- Unwilling Roboticisation: See Was Once a Man below.
- Villainous Breakdown: When you try to invoke This Is My Side  during the final boss fight and spend most of said fighting making petty insults, you're broken. It probably doesn't help that Chell spent the fight ripping her mind to pieces and setting them on fire.
GLaDOS: Stop squirming and die like an adult or I'm going to delete your backup! STOP! Okay enough, I deleted it. No matter what happens now, you're dead. You're still shuffling around a little but believe me you're dead. The part of you that could have survived indefinitely is gone. I just struck you from the permanent record. Your entire life has been a mathematical error. A mathematical error I'M ABOUT TO CORRECT.
- Villainous Rescue: At the end of Portal 2, GLaDOS pulls you back out of the Moon portal.
- Visual Pun / Stealth Pun:
- As the effects of GLaDOS's morality core begin to wear off, her monitors display a small pile of screws. She does have quite a few screws loose by this point. On top of that, she's about to screw you, and not in the fun way.
- When she says " Despite your vio-lent behavior..." the screen displays a violin.
- Was Once A Woman: She was created to fulfill Cave Johnson's wish to leave Caroline eternally in control of the facility. This did not go well.
- Why Did It Have To Be Birds?: GLaDOS as a potato quickly develops a massive fear of birds.
BIRD! BIRD! KILL IT! IT'S EVIL!
- Makes a return in the Peer Review DLC for co-op mode. The facility is being "controlled" by the same bird that antagonized Wheatly and GLaDOS previously.
- Worth It: Says this about tricking Wheatly into trying to give a hint about a test chamber, giving him a painful shock.
- You Are Fat: A good amount of her insults towards Chell in the sequel are about her weight. She helpfully informs ATLAS and P-Body that humans are very sensitive about weight variances.
GLaDOS: Did you know humans frown on weight variances? If you want to upset a human, just say their weight variance is above or below the norm.
- Your Mom: In the Peer Review DLC, GLaDOS attempts one of these to turn the robots into killing machines. However, she stops mid-sentence because she finds it too disgusting.
The Weighted Companion Cube
Voiced by no one as it, in fact, cannot speak.
A large, (apparently) inanimate cube with hearts printed on each face. That's it. GLaDOS tries to get Chell to form an emotional attachment to it, then forces her to incinerate it.
- Companion Cube: The Trope Namer.
- The Greatest Story Never Told: Word Of God speculates that maybe the Companion Cube, instead of being given to Chell by GLaDOS, was having its own adventures this entire time totally offscreen. It just managed to escape at exactly the same time as she did.
- "... in which case it’s probably pissed.”
- Heart Symbol
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: According to some of Rattmann's writings, the cube is violent, dangerous, and also his best friend.
- Kill It with Fire / Murder by Cremation: Alas, poor Cube... Nah. It's okay. Just burnt really badly.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Among other things, beta testers caused the creation of the Companion Cube. Carrying it was necessary to complete the level, but beta testers didn't realize this until late on, and were annoyed to have to go back and get it. Over-emphasizing its importance to you fixed that problem.
- Still Alive.
- Talking Appliance Sidekick: To Doug Rattmann, at least. GLaDOS claims the cubes are actually sentient in the sequel, but she's probably not being serious.
GLaDOS: The Enrichment Center reminds you that the Weighted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.
Doug Rattmann, a.k.a. "The Rat Man"
A mysterious person who left clues for Chell to find scrawled along the course of the testing center. His identity is never really touched upon in-game, but the promotional Alternate Reality Game to promote Portal 2, as well as the new comic to bridge the gap between the two games, gives us more about him.
- All There in the Manual: Or rather, A Little More There In The ARG and Comic: He was a programmer at Aperture Science who managed to survive GLaDOS's release of the neurotoxin on account of suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which allowed him to correctly deduce that yes, an evil computer was trying to kill everyone (while the other scientists were aware that GLaDOS was violent and unstable, they failed to take the threat seriously enough until it was too late). After being made a test subject, his knowledge and clearances allowed him to manipulate the test chambers and make dens for himself, living in these nooks and plotting his escape.
- The Atoner: Willingly went back into the facility after he'd gained his freedom, unable to live with knowing he'd used Chell to defeat GLaDOS and then let her be killed when he might have saved her.
- Badass Labcoat: As seen on Page 15 of the "Lab Rat" comic.
- Badass Normal: While dodging turrets, crawling through air vents, and matching Deadpan Snarks with GLaDOS, without a portal gun or any other technology.
- Companion Cube: He takes one with him wherever he goes. He's so crazy that it talks to him, and is surprisingly very helpful.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Alternate Universe Doug Rattman that's CEO of Aperture Science.
- Crazy Survivalist: As literally as possible. He's clinically insane, so he lived.
- Deadpan Snarker: When he's on his medication, he's a match for GLaDOS.
GLaDOS: Have you refilled your prescription lately?
- Disability Superpower: When Rattmann is on his schizophrenia meds, his Companion Cube doesn't appear. Without its advice, he seems to be a lot less effective, eventually causing him to get wounded by a turret.
- The Ghost: Never appears in either game and likely dead by the time of Portal 2, all the player sees of him is the drawings he leaves behind in various lairs scattered throughout the Enrichment Centre.
- The music on the Portal 2 soundtrack for one of his dens is called "Ghost of Rattman".
- Got Volunteered: He knew that he didn't have what it took to defeat GLaDOS, but he could look through the test subjects' psych profiles and find someone who did.
- Le Parkour: He improvises.
- Mad Artist
- Madness Mantra: The Cake Is a Lie
- Properly Paranoid: It's implied that his paranoid schizophrenia was the key to evading GLaDOS long after all the other employees had been captured. Sane people tend to dismiss thoughts like "What if an insane computer is trying to take over the facility and kill us all?" as crazy, which is something of a survival disadvantage when that's actually what's happening. However, considering GLaDOS had consistently attempted to kill them all within one tenth of a picosecond of being switched on (up from one sixteenth of a picosecond when she was first activated), he might have just been the only one who wasn't Too Dumb to Live.
- Prophetic Name: A name so convenient, you'd expect him to be a Spider-Man villain.
- Room Full of Crazy: "I <3 Companion Cube." His dens are full of poetry adapted to mention the cube, pictures of things in the center (mostly the cube, of course) and other scrawlings.
the cake is a lie
- In Portal 2, it would seem his obsession changed to being centered around Chell, with vivid detailed murals of her sprawled across walls.
- Sanity Has Advantages: Inverted.
- Sanity Slippage: Oh my GOD.
Small white machines placed throughout the facility to provide you with product.
- Adorable Evil Minions: Hi. Target acquired. Firing.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot
- Apologetic Attacker: I don't blame you. I don't hate you. No hard feelings.
- Cartridges in Flight: As pointed out and Lampshaded in this trailer.
Cave Johnson: We fire the whole bullet! That's 65% more bullet per bullet!
- Cute Machines: Well, until they pepper you full of lead. That doesn't stop them from being so damn adorable.
- Enemy Mine: A mild version in 2, after Wheatley takes over the facility, the turrets seem just as eager to shoot at him (or at least his monitors) as they are at Chell.
- Flat Joy: WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!
- Grotesque Cute: Such cute voices. Such infantile dialogue. So polite and apologetic while they dispense product. So much dakka. AND THEY SING!
- Insistent Terminology: Dispensing product.
- King Mook: The Animal King turret, a massive, cheetah-patterned turret with a crown used to illustrate what to do in one of many apocalypse scenarios Aperture anticipated. It also plays bass, just because.
- Laser Sight
- Morality Chip: According to a diagram in the Portal 2 promo trailer above, the turrets contain an "empathy generator" and an "empathy suppressor" to counter it out.
- More Dakka
- Pet the Dog: Portal 2 has an achievement for rescuing an active turret from a conveyor belt. It has some strange things to say in response.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Standard Female Grab Area: In a manner of speaking: picking up a turret (if you can get past its gunfire or sneak up on it) will prevent it from firing. Add the responses to such actions including "Hey!" and "Put me down!" (which of course use cutesy female voices).
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Has it ever been this much fun to push over a stationary object?
- Turrets + Repulsion Gel = massive lulz.
- Carrying a turret into an disintegrating field lets you watch it be disintegrated as it screams "Ow ow ow ow!"
- And it can be used as a shield against other turrets, to which it will plead for its life (e.g. "Hey! It's me!" or "Don't shoot!").
- Villains Out Shopping: The turrets make such a lovely choir.
Party Escort Bot
The Party Escort Bot, alternatively known as the Party Associate, is a robot appearing in the retconned PC version of Portal, as of the March 3, 2010 patch. It's only role in the game is to drag Chell back into the facility after she defeats GLaDOS, so that she can have new adventures in the sequel.
- Chekhov's Gunman: When GLaDOS first mentions him, it appears as if he does not exist at all. Then there is no mention of him for a long time, until he suddenly turns up as a Diabolus Ex Machina in the ending.
- Diabolus Ex Machina: After Chell has survived hous of deadly testing, GLaDOS' deathtrap, navigated the facilities, and then confronted GLaDOS in her room and defeated her, she ends up semi-conscious on a parking lot, and this robot drags her back into the facility.
- The Dragon: Apparently is this to GLaDOS
- The Ghost: Was this before the March 3rd update.
- Palette Swap: The robot is seen on one panel in the Lab Rat comic, and it is apparently merely a purple version of ATLAS, or possibly a personality core with arms (which Wheatley was planned to have, per the commentary, but were cut because they could not believably retract)
- Retcon: A major one to the ending of Portal
- Robo Speak: In the one line it has in the game, it probably has the most severe case of Robo Speak in the entire series.
- The Voice: Although it is obviously very close to Chell in the ending, it is actually never seen as it drags her back in-game. No-clipping reveals merely a placeholder box with the text "beens" on it.
- Ironically, in the Lab Rat comic, the robot becomes The Voiceless, as it is revealed for the first time, but has no dialogue.
- Wham! Line: "Thank you for assuming, the party escort submission position."
Voiced by Stephen Merchant
An artificially intelligent "personality core" reassigned to ensure the well-being of the test subjects. Practically a polar opposite to GLaDOS, Wheatley appears friendly and slightly scatterbrained. He helps Chell in her second run through Aperture Laboratories, but accidentally revives GLaDOS.
- Affably Evil: For an AI-turned-psychotic-junkie trying to murder you, he sure is likeable.
- Artificial Stupidity: His sole reason of existing is to consistently give GLaDOS stupid ideas and take bad decisions.
- The Atoner: Becomes this in the final scene of Portal 2. He's a little too late for that, however.
- Berserk Button: "I am NOT! A! MORON!" Gee, thanks a lot, GLaDOS. The irony is just astounding.
- Big Stupid Doodoo Head: When he tries to imitate GLaDOS's style of insults, the best he can do is "fatty fatty no-parents."
- Blue Eye
- Book Ends: GRAB ME GRAB ME GRAB ME!
- British Accents: Wheatley used to have a northern accent due to the placeholder voice clips being done by animator Richard Lord. Valve considered keeping the voice due to people's positive reaction, but in the end went with Stephen Merchant, best known as the co-creator of The Office (UK original). Merchant's accent is a Bristolian one (a more urban version of Westcountry/Rural/Mummerset).
- Cloudcuckoolander: He's obviously not the sanest individual in Aperture and boy, does it show by the end of the game.
- Comedic Sociopathy: "I shouldn't laugh; they do feel pain. Of a sort."
- Confusion Fu: His unpredictable idiocy and poker face regarding death traps surprises even GLaDOS. This makes Wheatley more dangerous when in control of the the Aperture Science mainframe than GLaDOS ever was. He's incapable of controlling such a massive system, he can't be deterred by consequences he's too dumb to foresee, he's Too Dumb to Fool with clever tricks, and when he manages to stumble upon a genuinely cunning idea by sheer chance, it usually takes you by surprise. This leads to him wrecking much of the complex before Chell and GLaDOS even return from the old labs, and it all goes downhill from there.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: He ends up stuck out in space along with the Space Sphere, having to stand his squeeing over being in space for the rest of his existence.
- Cowardly Lion: He appears to be afraid of his own body and thinks several actions he can take, such as disengaging from his rail or turning on his flashlight, will kill him (although he does actually try both those things). Also, he's afraid of heights. And birds.
- Cute Machines: Yes, he is adorable, like the turrets. Not so much once he takes over the Enrichment Center.
- Cyber Cyclops
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: He has an uncanny ability to throw surprises at you and GLaDOS, largely because he is just smart enough to learn from her mistakes.
- Disney Death: Shortly after GLaDOS is reactivated, she crushes Wheatley between her ceiling-suspended claws. He gets better about three test chambers later.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: His reaction to watching Chell and GLaDOS get through the tests is a bit enthusiastic.
- Also, his Villainous Breakdown in the final fight is very reminiscent of a jilted lover who's breaking up with his girlfriend.
- Drunk with Power: And then he starts suffering withdrawal symptoms.
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: Go to any YouTube video about Wheatley's quotes, and drink a glass of water at every comment that says something like "Wheatley's voice is so hot"/"I <3 you Wheatley" and etc. You will be in the bathroom for a LONG time.
- What have we learned today? Bitches love British accents. No matter what it comes out of.
- Evil Brit: After his Face Heel Turn.
- Exact Words/Stealth Pun: Valve said that the voice of Wheatley would be provided by, in their words, "Some guy from the office". Originally it really was: the placeholder voice was provided by Valve animator Richard Lord. Then they chose Stephen Merchant, most well known for co-writing and appearing in the UK sitcom The Office.
- Face Heel Turn: It's even referred to as this in the game sound files. It's unclear how much of it was the mainframe's decision though.
- Feigning Intelligence
- Final Boss
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He started out as an intelligence-inhibitor. Then he gets plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe, and becomes even more unstable and destructive than she ever was.
- Genius Ditz: Even GLaDOS is forced to admit it at one point as he's bringing Chell and GLaDOS to the "surprise".
GLaDOS: For a little idiot built specifically to come up with stupid, unworkable plans, that was a pretty well laid trap.
- A God Am I: Becomes this after being plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe.
- Heel Face Turn: After Wheatley is removed from GLaDOS's body, he feels genuinely sorry. Too bad he's stranded in space now.
- Idiot Ball: A more literal example than usual.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: After his Face Heel Turn. Competent plans, utter lack of proofreading.
- That said, his incompetence and recklessness actually make him even MORE dangerous in some ways, so he's not ineffectual in that sense -- he remains sympathetic largely because he's as much a danger to himself as to anyone else.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: One of the dumbest beings in existence, but convinced he's brilliant. Not played up too much during the first half, but gets much worse when he's plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe. He seems to be over-compensating for the knowledge that he was specifically designed to be a moron.
- Motor Mouth: His utter inability to shut up is one of the highlights of this game. So much so that even if you just sit there for a few minutes, he'll still keep talking.
- Oh Crap: When he learns of GLaDOS and Chell's history.
GLaDOS: Oh, it's you.
- Percussive Maintenance: Uses this approach to hacking a few times, such as when he attempts a "manual override" of a "docking gate" by slamming Chell's relaxation chamber into it.
- Psychopathic Manchild: When he starts ranting at GLaDOS and Chell he sounds distinctly like a child throwing a tantrum at an elder.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: With GLaDOS. Wheatley is the Red Oni.
- Stalker with a Crush: His obsession with testing Chell following the Face Heel Turn could be interpreted as this, especially considering her doing tests is essentially... you know...
- Stupidity-Inducing Attack: Literally. As a personality core, he's spherical and he was built to make GLaDOS dumber. He also grabs onto one after going insane; he informs you that he won't make the mistakes GLaDOS did, having made all surfaces in his lair unsuitable for applying portals. He has also rerouted three gel tubes into his room, including one that supplies Conversion Gel allowing you to apply portals in his room. This alone wouldn't be so bad, but he also doesn't bother to wait for the neurotoxin to kill you -- he throws bombs too, breaking the tube and providing you access to the Gels.
- What's more, he rerouted the conversion gel pipe through the room even though he had previously seen you use it right in front of him to escape from his anti-portal trap at the beginning of the chapter. If you wait long enough at said trap, GLaDOS even tells Wheatley to his face exactly what the conversion gel does!
- This Is Gonna Suck: His reaction upon awakening GLaDOS, only compounded when GLaDOS says to Chell "...After you murdered me?"
- Too Dumb to Live: His idea of dealing with an imminent reactor core meltdown caused by his own incompetence is to yell at the alarm to shut up.
- Too Dumb to Fool: AI brains as simple as those of the Frankenturrets short out in response to hearing a simple logical paradox. Wheatley's idiocy prevents him from even noticing it.
- The Un-Reveal: Wheatley explains how he survived GLaDOS crushing him, but doesn't think to stop talking when the Aerial Faith Plate bouncing you up to him stops working.
- Villainous Breakdown: Wheatley really starts to panic after Chell escapes his "surprise". He also gets continually more aggressive and paranoid-delusional during the final battle.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: His original plan seems to have been simply to escape from the deteriorating facility, but once he takes over GLaDOS's role as master of Aperture, he almost immediately becomes paranoid, vengeful, and obsessed with running experiments.
Voiced by J.K. Simmons
The founder of Aperture Science, originally a shower curtain manufacturer before he succumbed to mercury and/or moon rock poisoning. The company's more esoteric inventions came about following Johnson's descent into madness.
- Affably Evil: He's really very likeable for someone who treats his employees and test subjects the way he does.
- All There in the Manual: Johnson and Aperture Science's history are mentioned only in supplemental material until Portal 2, though said supplementary material has been made non-canon for the most part due to the major Retcon.
- Always Second Best: Cave Johnson's trophy case contains a number of trophies, certificates, etc. which always show Aperture falling just shy of Black Mesa, with the exception of Potato Sciences. Oh, and he was a great shower curtain salesman. The best, in fact.
- The Artifact: Was slated to be a combination of Wheatley's role in going power mad and Caroline's role of having been forced into GLaDOS' body, and the main villain of Portal 2. As part of the rewrites that wrote out most of the personality cores and upgraded Wheatley's status, Cave was also rewritten to be simply a recorded voice.
- Badass Boast: The following speech has followed in the footsteps of "The Cake Is a Lie" to Memetic Mutationdom:
"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?! Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!"
- "He says what we're all thinking!"
- Bad Boss: His attitude toward anyone except Caroline can be most charitably described as "insensitive".
"The bean counters said I couldn't fire a man just for being in a wheelchair. Did it anyway. Ramps are expensive!"
- Brain Uploading: Prior to his death, he had his scientists working on this. The jury's out on whether he managed to live that long, but his assistant Caroline certainly got the treatment.
- Perpetual Testing features a Cave who did indeed upload himself into a computer. He takes *slightly* longer to go murderously insane than GLaDOS, although we never learn what exactly he did to Greg and the boys.
- Bungling Inventor: Literally nothing his company invented fulfilled the purpose it was intended for, and some of the leaps of logic between what the inventions were supposed to do and what they actually do are achievements all by themselves. Most of them have obvious practical applications that would be incredibly useful, but Aperture would always insist on marketing them for some other purpose for which they were completely unsuited. It seems he would order his scientists to invent a thing and then they'd do it, even if it took bending the laws of space and time into a pretzel.
- Catch Phrase: [Beginning of video] "Cave Johnson here..."
- "Good job, [x]."
- "We're not just banging rocks together!"
- "Cave Johnson, we're done here." [Video ends.]
- "Chariots chariots."
- Cloudcuckoolander: His understanding of science is a little off, and the Conversion Gel poisoning certainly didn't help.
- Comedic Sociopathy: It's said that a corporate culture is shaped by its leader. If that leader is completely out of his tree, then you get Aperture Science.
- For Science!: His motivation.
Johnson: Good enough for science...but not Aperture Science!
- Large Ham: See his "Lemons" speech for proof.
- Mad Scientist: He conceived the portal gun
afterbefore being stricken with dementia from mercurylunar dust poisoning. He had previously been developing shower curtains for the military. He also created the Heimlich Countermaneuever and the Take A Wish foundation, which are as pleasant as they sound. Not to mention his complete and blatant disregard for the health and safety of the subjects for the test programs.
- Some of the fluff material from Portal 1 claims that Johnson figured out portal technology but was so insane by that point he ignored it because it wouldn't be very useful for military-grade shower curtains. Although it's evident by Portal 2 that that has been retconned, as the portal technology turns out to be very prominent as seen when being thrown down into Old Aperture.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the casting call for him, he was described as being based on Ted Turner. As presented in the game, he bears more than a passing resemblance to Walt Disney, particularly regarding his recorded announcements (reminiscent of those Disney contributed to the 1964 World's Fair) and his wish to cheat death by being scanned into a computer -- much as Walt Disney was rumored to have tried to cheat death by being posthumously cryogenically frozen.
- Obliviously Evil: Given his sincere respect and affection for Caroline, it seems likely that it genuinely just didn't occur to him that forcing involuntary Brain Uploading on someone is a horrible thing to do to them. The moon rock poisoning may have had something to do with it.
- Pet the Dog: He may be a Comedic Sociopath who has sent countless people to their deaths through irresponsible use of his inventions and inhumane testing procedures, but he treats his secretary with profound respect. Even his decision to upload her mind into a robot against her will seems to have been motivated by the sincere conviction that she deserved to be in charge of Aperture forever, combined with total obliviousness to what she actually wanted.
- Popular Saying, But...: His lemon rant.
- Posthumous Character: Via prerecorded messages.
- Power Born of Madness: How else can you create a device which holds a miniature black hole, and can warp all laws of space-time (at least enough to create two portals)?
- Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense: He only barely listened to his own scientists and flagrantly disregarded advice from his own accountants on what he could and could not afford to spend money on. Not too surprisingly, his company fell on hard times the further this went on (though it seems to have improved in his absence).
- Undying Loyalty: His employees followed his every word, no matter how crazy. Anyone else acting like this would have been thrown in jail, possibly murdered.
- Even Caroline seems to have some of this—even after he inflicted involuntary Brain Uploading on her, she still seems to hold some affection for him, if GLaDOS's response to his final prerecorded message is anything to go by.
GLaDOS: (sadly) Goodbye, sir.
- Unreliable Narrator/Retcon: The "official" timeline of Aperture Science on the website when the first game was released doesn't quite jive with Cave's speeches.
- Among other things, his illness wasn't apparently due to mercury poisoning, but an allergic reaction to ground-up moonrock gel used to make stable portal-surfaces. He appears to have lived at least until early 1980's. The Portal Gun appears to have been one of Cave's first inventions at Aperture (since all of his Enrichment Spheres basically require its use, and a poster in the 50s era test chambers depicts a test subject with an enormous early version of the portal gun), rather than an idea he imparted while on his deathbed... although since he was, according to the 'old' timeline, convinced time was going backwards, it could be both.
- Villainous Breakdown: Listening to his prerecorded messages in order, you can hear his voice getting steadily more angry and deranged over the decades.
- When Life Gives You Lemons: See Badass Boast above.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: His attitude toward Caroline, whom he considered too modest to fully appreciate her own abilities. In context this is less heartwarming than it sounds.
Atlas and P-body
Both voiced by Dee Bradley Baker
Two robots—one adapted from a personality sphere (Atlas), the other from a turret (P-body) -- created by GLaDOS to run tests in the Enrichment Center. Atlas is assumed to be of masculine personality, and P-body to be feminine. See them in action here.
- Bash Brothers / Battle Couple: Depending on how one views them in terms of gender. They can also choose to hug each other.
- Blue Eye: Atlas.
- Brain Uploading: It's implied that their personalities are recorded for easier reinsertion into new robotic bodies whenever they "die".
- Cute Machines: Again, like the turrets and Wheatley, they are cute and silly.
- Death Is Cheap: The two robots are uploaded into a new body whenever they die, as illustrated by the trailer. P-body dismisses its destruction (and Atlas's role in it) with a wave of its hand. Then gets him back later. In fact, they are transported to other test chambers by being disassembled and later reassembled.
GLaDOS: Don't disappoint me -- or I'll make you wish you could die.
- The Portal 2 team say this is a major reason for using robots as the co-op mode characters. They wanted your (many) deaths at the hands of badly-planned maneuvers, incompetent or jerky co-players, and just larking about, to be funny and more consequence-free than showing humans being crushed, shot, or falling in acid and so forth.
- Electronic Speech Impediment: Although their general dialogue is mostly unintelligible, if you listen hard enough you can make out specific word-analogues, such as them saying "Hello" to each other in the intro cinematic.
- Fat and Skinny
- Not So Stoic: Atlas tends to be the more reserved one in everything he does - except for when either initiates a hug.
- Orange Oni Blue Oni: Color Coded for Your Convenience.
- Also illustrated during the introductory cutscene where the two are assembled for the first time. P-body is happy enough to let the robotic arms weld it together, while Atlas is shown anxiously trying to dodge them and escape from the construction area.
P-body: [cheerfully waving to Atlas] Hello!
- Depending on how you view their personalities in gender terms, it can also be an example of either Tomboy and Girly Girl or Sensitive Guy and Manly Man. The fact still stands that P-Body is far more feminine-looking than Atlas, while the trailer mentioned above puts their personalities in a far different manner.
- True Companions: GLaDOS learns that as much as she tries, she cannot drive them apart and pit them against each other.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: You kind of get this impression from them when you are capable of killing your friend with the pop of a portal, as well as using the gesture feature to both laugh at them and engage in slapstick.
Aperture Science's turret assembly lines are less than 100% efficient. These little guys have a few minor faults. Like having been assembled sideways. Or having been loaded with ammo still on the box. Or being completely insane.
- Body Horror: Well, look at it from their point of view. Some of them have no casing. Some of them were put together sideways.
- They're fairly upbeat about it though.
"Oh no, I'm one of the bad ones aren't I?"
- Evil Laugh
- Foreshadowing: There's a slightly-less defective turret on the Turret Redemption Line early on, whose main defect seems to be babbling a mix of cryptic Foreshadowing and complete nonsense.
Oracle Turret: Her name is Caroline. Get mad, don't make lemonade. The answer is beneath us. It won't be enough. Prometheus was punished by the gods for giving the gift of knowledge to man. He was cast into the bowels of the earth and pecked by birds.
- Harmless Villains: They're so enthusiastic... if only they could actually attack.
"Hey lady, do me a favor. Tell 'em I killed you."
- It Works Better with Bullets: As GLaDOS eventually learns.
- Oh Crap: They say this every now and again.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: On the test-firing range, defective turrets may say "Clackity-clack-clack!" instead of firing (or attempting to fire).
- "Uhhhh... Blam! Blam blam blam! I'm not defective!"
- Spontaneous Robot Combustion: One of their many, many design flaws.
- Weak Turret Gun: "So... we're all supposed to be blind, then, right? It's not just me?"
A hybrid of two turrets and a Weighted Storage Cube.
- And I Must Scream: They are unable to move, save for having to attempt to hop forward, they are permanently stuck together, and they can't even so much as fire at you anymore. It really makes Wheatley appear to be even worse when you think about the fact that he made these things himself.
- Body Horror: Yes, even purely mechanical robots can apply for this; the merging is crude, and the Frankenturrets' pitiful chirping and terrified reactions when picked up make their miserable state clear. The commentary notes their withdrawing into a cube was initially just to make them be cubical when picked up, but it was so cute they added shaking animations and wide-eyed reactions to the turret to make the player sympathize with their plight.
- Cute Machines: They're hastily put-together hybrids that exist primarily to satisfy Wheatley's addiction to testing...but they're so darn adorable!
- Driven to Suicide: Put them anywhere near an Emancipation Grill and the poor bastards will slowly lurch their way into it of their own volition.
- Near the Bottomless Pits, also, although it might have been a coincidence (they generally default to just lurching straight forward).
- Logic Bomb: Several of them are fried when a paradox is spoken in their presence. They probably welcomed it. Note that this implies that they're not only sentient but actually smarter than Wheatley, although that isn't saying much.
- Mercy Kill: The poor things look like they are just telling you "Throw us into the incinerator, PLEASE." See Logic Bomb above.
He likes space. His favorite thing about space is space. He is the best at space.
- Broken Record: Wanna bet?
- Cute Machines
- Dummied Out: Several of its lines were deleted from the final game.
- Jumped At the Call: Immediately detaches itself from the mainframe as soon as it hears Wheatley mention that he and Chell are in space, and happily flies off to be where he wants so desperately to be.
- Some extremely depressing Dummied Out lines have him subsequently freaking out because space is too big and wanting to return to Earth.
- And thanks to an official Valve release, we know where he ends up: Nirn!
- Luke, You Are My Father: According to the Space Sphere, its father is space.
- Motor Mouth: Oh my god YES.
- No Indoor Voice
- Space Cuckoolander
- Space Is Noisy: Especially with this guy in it.
- Space X: Everything, but especially "space cops" and "space jail".
- Squee: SPAAAAAAAAACE!!!
- Talkative Loon: Yep.
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: "Dad? I'm in space. (deeper voice) I'm proud of you, son."
- "Dad, are you space? (deeper voice) Yes. Now we are a family again."
Rick the Adventure Sphere
Stand back, lady. The Adventure Sphere is here to do the job.
- The Ace: At the very least, in his own mind.
- According to the Fact Sphere he is a blowhard and a coward — so there must be something to him.
- Bond One-Liner: Discussed Trope.
- Dummied Out: Had several deleted lines, including some dialogue with the other cores.
- Gentleman Adventurer: Being spherical and limbless does not stand in the way of ADVENTURE!
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Yeah, I'm a black belt. In pretty much everything. Karate. Larate. Jiu Jitsu. Kick punching. Belt making. Taekwondo. Bedroom.
- Not to mention he thinks the view is great from where you're carrying him.
- Handsome Lech: Well, he sounds handsome, and he can't get enough of Chell.
- Interspecies Romance: He immediately takes a liking to Chell.
- Jumped At the Call: "Quick! What's the situation!?"
- Large Ham
- Necromantic: "All right, your funeral. Your beautiful lady-corpse open casket funeral."
- One-Scene Wonder
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: If you give him long enough to think, he'll brainstorm a few and come up with one for the end of the final boss fight. He admits it sounded better in his head after the delivery.
- Shout-Out: Possibly to another Testosterone-Poisoned Large Ham in another one of Valve's titles.
- Stay in the Kitchen: He doesn't seem to be used to women taking active roles in adventure or relationships.
- Testosterone Poisoning
- This Is Sparta: "This robot. Owes! You! Money!!"
The Fact Sphere is the most intelligent and well-mannered of all of the 497,356 personality spheres in Aperture Science Industries. As a result, the Fact Sphere is well-respected by 99.99999% of the population and has many friends. The Fact Sphere would never lie to you.
- Blatant Lies: He believes Abraham Lincoln did everything important while he was sleepwalking, and Schrodinger just wanted a reason to kill cats.
- "Fact: Space does not exist."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Keeps spewing history, whether it is accurate, or just plain off.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: Some of his ramblings are indeed true. Some.
- Foreshadowing: One of the false facts is about where one of the spheres will end up.
- Good News, Bad News: "Cellular phones will not give you cancer, only hepatitis."
The Space Sphere will never go into space. You will never go into space.
- Little-Known Facts: Most of his repetoire of trivia includes things like "Humans can survive underwater, but not for very long," and "The square root of rope is string."
- Long List: He says "12" and "Pens" multiple times before launching into a list of random fruits and vegetables.
- One-Scene Wonder
- Small Name, Big Ego: The Fact Sphere is the most intelligent and handsome sphere... according to the Fact Sphere.
- Talkative Loon: Just like the Cake and Curiosity Cores from the original game, this Sphere incessantly babbles random—and bizarre—facts.
Voiced by Joe Michaels
An (overly) cheerful AI Construct that regulates the Aperture Science facility and conducts testing in the abscence of GLaDOS. Unlike GLaDOS or the personality cores, he does not appear to be sentient, meaning his lines are pre-recorded and automatically stitched together, like a computerised phone operator.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick
- Crazy Prepared: Aperture Science gave him recordings and responses for every eventuality. And we do mean every.
- Creepy Cheerful: He always talks in a chippery, cheerful tone.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Interpreting vague answer as "yes".
- False Reassurance
- For Inconvenience Press One:
If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, or require a Spanish version of this message, feel free to take a complimentary piece of stationary, and write us a letter.
- For Science!: Utterly dedicated to making sure Science gets done, even in the face of "potentially apocalyptic circumstances".
- Mission Control: For the first part of the game.
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: His response to state and federal regulations regarding potentially lethal tests is smooth jazz.
- Motor Mouth
- Robo Speak
- Say Your Prayers
If the laws of physics no longer apply in the future, God help you.
Cave Johnson's personal assistant, described as the backbone of Aperture Science.
- Brain Uploading: Uploaded into GLaDOS against her will, on Cave's orders as he was dying of moon dust poisoning.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: When Cave gets hot-headed (which is often), Caroline puts him back on task.
- Dummied Out: The actual Brain Uploading scene, mentioned above. GLaDOS's dialogue makes it clear enough that it did happen, though; we just don't know for sure how it happened or how Caroline reacted to it.
- Fate Worse Than Death: She did not want to be uploaded into an A.I. from the start. And now she's not only stuck in there, she's -- in a sense -- immortal.
- For Science!: Well, Cave at least said she was passionate about science, and GLaDOS's attitude seems to support the idea that he was right.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The plan was to upload Caroline into GLaDOS so that she could run the facility forever. The resulting A.I. personality was considerably less pleasant than human Caroline.
- Girl Friday: To Cave.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Cave thought Caroline suffered from this, which is why he felt justified in having her mind forcibly uploaded against her will -- obviously she was only refusing because she didn't realize how good she'd be at running Aperture forever.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick/Puss in Boots: Cave, at least, believed she was fully capable of doing his job, but she seemed to be perfectly happy as a secretary, which he attributed to extreme modesty.
- Married to the Job: According to Cave Johnson.
Johnson: "Sorry fellas, she's married... to science!"
- Morality Pet: Cave is generally pleasant to her and holds her in very high esteem, which helps balance the attitude of Comedic Sociopathy he tends to display otherwise. In a well-intentioned yet horrifically misplaced show of his appreciation, he orders his scientists to upload her consciousness into an immortal A.I. against her will so that she can take over Aperture after his death.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Since GLaDOS experiences her persona as a sort of conscience, she presumably wasn't a complete sociopath, but she didn't seem to object to the constant stream of blatant ethical violations that characterized Cave's policies for running Aperture.
- On the other hand, if GLaDOS's reaction to Cave's lemon rant is anything to go by, Cave's aggressiveness and willingness to openly express it may have been something she actively liked about him. Of course, it's impossible to tell whether that's just GLaDOS's insanity talking.
- Number Two: Cave Johnson's right hand woman.
- Origin Story: GLaDOS's origin -- she was created in an attempt to achieve immortality through Brain Uploading for Cave Johnson, but when he died before the project was ready, Caroline was uploaded in his place so that she could run Aperture forever. This did not work out well.
- Perky Female Minion: Yes, Sir!
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Originally Cave's assistant was going to be a put-upon Yes-Man named Greg. But they didn't have time to get a new voice actor, so it was decided Ellen McLain would do the voice. Once that casting choice was made, the creators wondered why Caroline and GLaDOS had the same voice...
- Repeat After Me: Invoked with Cave and Caroline's homage to a Rowan and Martins Laugh In routine.
Johnson: Say goodbye, Caroline!
- Shout-Out: It's unintentional—she's actually named after the mother of one of the writers—but the name Caroline means "free man."
- Virtual Ghost: Some remnant of Caroline's personality still exists within GLaDOS. While GLaDOS claims to delete her, there are some hints that she's still around.
The chief antagonist of the Peer-Review co-op DLC, who has taken over an older version of GLaDOS's body and is using it wreak havoc.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: The antagonist taking over the facility, causing chaos and ruffling GLaDOS's cool is... the bird who bothered her and Wheatley before, inadvertently building her nest on a crucial keyboard.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Literally. It's the Bird.
- Interface Screw: Turns the lights off at one point, requiring Atlas and P-Body to use night vision. Immediately turns the lights back on, blinding them.
- The Unfought: After the final puzzle, the bots drive it away in a cutscene.
"Hold on. (Unintelligible Muttering) Alright, my assistant Greg tells me none of that's true. Got excited.
—Cave Johnson, on Greg
Greg is Cave Johnson's put-upon assistant, introduced in The Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC. He never directly appears or speaks, but most of the new test chamber dialogue involves Cave being corrected by Greg about various logical fallacies Cave believes in (such as confusing alternate universes with time travel). According to Cave, Greg was responsible for coming up with the idea for the Perpetual Testing Initiative.
- Creepy Child: Greg has a daughter who likes to sneak into Cave's office and talk to the test subjects. Cave calls her "Greg's Creepy Daughter".
- The Voiceless: Sort of. Greg speaks with Cave multiple times in the DLC, but besides some muffled mumbling the player can only hear Cave's side of the conversation.
- Which has naturally caused many players to joke that Greg is actually the Pyro.
Alternate Cave Johnsons
Introduced in The Perpetual Testing Initiative, there are alternate universe versions of Cave Johnson who will talk to you, which forces the real Cave Johnson to use a Catch Phrase ("Chariots," later "chariots, chariots") to differentiate from the others.
- Ancient Tradition: Cave of Aperture Rituals is presiding over one of these in order to prevent the end of the world. It involves hiring astronauts, war heroes and olympians to make love to a giant bird.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: One Cave and the inhabitants of his universe have transformed into beings of pure light; though pleased, they'd originally hoped to transform into pillars of pure salt.
- Benevolent Boss: Nice!Cave, who gives bonuses to his testers and heaps praise upon them while randomly saying "chariots".
- Brain Uploading: CaveDOS
- Demonic Possession: Magic!Cave of Aperture Paranormal is host to a tiny but powerful demon that lives in a secret place in his mouth.
- Evil Twin: Real!Cave regards a Cave Johnson who argued with him as this, referring to him as Dark!Cave (who calls himself Cave Prime).
- Extranormal Institute: Aperture Paranormal, an institute dedicated to studying and harnessing magical phenomena.
- Genius Loci: Planet!Cave.
- Hobos: "Michigan Slim" Cave Johnson, the Hobo King.
- Insectoid Aliens: Mantis!Cave
- Only Sane Man:
- The Cave Johnson in charge of Blapeture Mesa, who is appalled by the reckless experiments.
- Warden!Cave had to tell his prisoners that the air ducts were not an escape route, but how they ventilate the facility. When he's shived after a power outtage shut off the forcefield doors, he laments how actual doors would have been much better.
- Space!Cave has to constantly remind his test subjects that the tests are being conducted in a space station, and that there's no air outside the facility. Few of them listen.
- Real!Cave has a moment of this, when he listens to Greg and cancels the initiative that would spawn GLaDOS after CaveDOS goes insane.
- Punny Name: Dark!Cave. Think about it...
- Send in the Clones
Mel was originally supposed to be the main character of Portal 2, then the co-op player 2 character alongside Chell. She was discarded when the creators decided robots would suit the chaotic, often death-filled nature of co-op mode better.
Betty or the Gyroscopic Liability Absolver and Disk Operating System, was a personality core who would appear at the beginning of each test chamber in the original Portal 2, which took place in the past, to rattle off legal jargon in regards to the dangers of testing. Her role was mostly replaced by that of the Announcer.
- Heroic Mime: Mel.
- Palette Swap: Mel's character model is a recolored (blonde with a blue suit) Chell from the first game.
- Punny Name: Betty's title: the Gyroscopic Liability Absolver and Disk Operating System. Look at the first letter of each word. It's GLAaDOS.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mel's blue, while Chell is orange.
- Theme Naming: Chell 'n' Mel.
- What Could Have Been
- Back to Portal (series)