North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is full of rich, well-developed characters. All stills are from the 2004 BBC production. Read on to find quick bios of North and South characters.
The Hale Household
Mr. Hale– After what he calls “a matter of conscience” Mr. Hale quits the clergy and moves his family to the industrial town of Milton.
Mrs. Hale was raised in a wealthy family but married a clergyman for love. A kind, well-bred woman, she struggles with understanding her husband’s actions.
Margaret– North and South‘s main character, Margaret Hale is a strong, independent-minded young woman.
Frederick– Margaret’s brother, currently living in Spain
Dixon is technically a servant, yet really a part of the family with very strong opinions. She’s fiercely devoted to Mrs. Hale.
John Thornton has built himself from the ground up into a well-respected mill owner. It doesn’t take him long to fall in love with Margaret.
Mrs. Thornton– Stern and strong-minded, Mrs. Thornton is very proud of Milton.
Fanny– John’s younger sister, Fanny is a young woman with the dreams of visiting London and making a good match. She has been shielded from her family’s hardships.
Nicholas– A Union leader, Nicholas Higgins fights for a better life for the mill workers.
Bessie– Nicholas’ daughter suffers from a disease caused by breathing the mills’ cotton-filled air.
Mary– Bessie’s younger sister
Anne Latimer– An accomplished young woman, ready for marriage, presumably with eyes on Thornton.
Mr. Watson– Fanny’s fiance
Slickson– Milton mill owner
John Boucher– A mill worker with six children, the strike hits his family hard.
Edith Shaw Lennox– Margaret’s childhood friend and cousin
Captain Lennox– Edith’s husband
Henry Lennox- Captain Lennox’s brother, Henry proposes marriage to Margaret in the beginning of North and South.
Aunt Shaw is the mother of Edith, seemingly the matriarch of her household.
The Man Who Defies Categorization
Mr. Bell is a life-long friend of Mr. Hale and also the owner of the land Marlbarough Mills sits on. An observant, cunning man, instrumental to our main character’s happiness.