Since its monumental release at the end of April, Netflix’s Heartstopper has quickly established itself as a pro-LGBTQ+ megahit, where it is currently performing exceptionally well in both critics’ reviews and audience’s hearts. The enchanting tale showcases a charming coming-of-age story between Nick and Charlie — two teenage boys who eventually develop their initial romantic attraction into a beautiful, blossoming relationship by the end of the first season.
The book-to-screen adaptation features a lineup of characters — both beloved and hated — that help to convey the show’s overall message of love, unity, rejection, oppression, discovery of sexualities, and the all-around acceptance of others — regardless of creed, class, or color. These characters, regardless of their popularity among the show’s fanbase, are undoubtedly well-written and continue to keep viewers engaged. Let’s take a look at the main characters in Heartstopper, ranked.
Harry Greene is easily the most hated character in Heartstopper and one of the key boys that bullied Charlie after the school discovered that he is gay. Harry is in the same grade as Nick and they compete together on the same rugby team. As Nick’s relationship with Charlie begins to blossom into romance, Harry’s harassment against Charlie begins to happen more and more.
In addition to his reputation as a bully, other kids in the school equate him to being both a transphobe and a homophobe, considering he harasses Charlie (who is openly gay) and Elle (who is trangender) for his own personal amusement. Harry is easily one of the most unlikeable and despised characters in the show, but like with any other good series, you need that quintessential villain to run amok and strengthen the overall plot.
Ben Hope is introduced in the first episode as the secret boyfriend of Charlie Spring, but considering Ben is still in the closet about his sexuality, he prefers to not accept the label as Charlie’s boyfriend. Although Ben is cold-hearted and seemingly disinterested in pursuing a romantic relationship with Charlie, he gives Charlie the confidence and respect for himself to find a love that he rightfully deserves.
After Ben realizes that Charlie and Nick are an item, he becomes surprisingly jealous and even more harsh to Charlie. As Charlie bluntly states, Ben’s choice to remain closeted as gay is not the actual issue, but rather his need to tear down others for being comfortable in their sexuality. While Ben is not quite as publicly mean to Charlie as Harry is, he still ranks as one of the most unlikable characters in the show.
Seeing as Imogen Heaney is a character that was not in Alice Oseman’s best-selling graphic novel, fans were initially unsure how to react to her. Nevertheless, it’s clear from early on that Imogen is a sweet character that just wants to be Nick Nelson’s girlfriend. Unbeknownst to her, Nick harbors intense feelings for Charlie, and spends most of the season struggling to come to terms with his sexuality.
While Imogen is a warm soul, she unfortunately doesn’t do much outside of accepting Nick and Charlie, as seen when she smiles during the pair’s reunion on the school’s rugby field. Despite being a likable character, there are far more significant characters in the heart-stopping series.
Much like Imogen, Isaac Henderson is another character that was not in the initial webcomic, yet his popularity amongst viewers absolutely skyrocketed after his first appearance. Isaac is a close friend of Charlie and Tao, and the trio often sit together during lunch and disclose the drama in their lives. Isaac, however, rarely has any drama to share, and instead is adamant about his love for books.
Despite his low-key nature, Isaac is a thoughtful and supportive friend that shares his opinion where it is valued. He cheers on his friends and genuinely wants the best for them, which easily makes him a beloved character that many fans can relate to on a deeper level.
Tori Springs is the soft-spoken, yet massively supportive older sister of Charlie. While her approach is consistently sarcastic, she truly means well and stands by Charlie in times of need. Tori is often seen drinking while she offers most of her advice, or snarky comments, but it’s easy to see very early on that she has a warm heart and a kind soul underneath a pessimistic attitude.
Tori is such a significant character because of the support that she lends to Charlie, along with their protective father, who is often seen dropping Charlie off at locations and checking to make sure he is okay. It’s evident that Charlie’s entire family strives to look out for him, and Tori is definitely the supportive big sister that we all need in our lives.
On the topic of enchanting family members, Sarah Nelson, portayed by the fabulous Olivia Colman, is one of the most supportive characters in the series. Early on in the season, Sarah undoubtedly starts to sense a change in Nick’s overall demeanor and the things that he finds important — which is mainly his blossoming friendship with Charlie.
She is a thoughtful and considerate mother who truly has the best intentions at heart for Nick, which is made apparent when Nick decides to come out to her later in the captivating season. Rather than ask questions or appear disinterested, Sarah lends a massive amount of support to her son and encourages him to be himself, while reminding him that he will always be loved.
Tao Xu is one of the most complex characters in Heartstopper, and is definitely a character that is misunderstood. While Tao can appear cynical and harsh, he truly means well when he tries to protect Charlie from Nick, Harry, and the rest of the rugby boys. Tao is hesitant when it comes to Nick, fearing that he will bully him and treat Charlie poorly like the rest of his friends have in the past.
Underneath his rough exterior, Tao is a warm person that will do whatever it takes to protect his friends — especially Elle, who is strongly hinted as his potential love interest. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between Tao and Elle builds in the second season, but folks are surely hoping that a romantic approach will happen.
Tara Jones is a strong-minded student at the same school as Elle, where the two eventually befriend and explore a lot about each other. Tara is one of the characters that struggles in the first season, where she is forced to adapt to the aftermath of coming out as a lesbian and confirming her relationship with Darcy.
Tara also serves an importance as one of the first people that Nick first opens up about his bisexuality to, and fans immediately latched on to her because of her strong acceptance and support for Nick. She is one of the first people to encourage him to explore his relationship with Charlie, while she continues to explore her own sexuality and self.
Charlie Springs is Heartstopper’s lovable protagonist, and he never once shys away from his comfortability in his sexuality. Charlie has been out since the year prior to the events we see in the series, and while his connection with Ben gives him butterflies, he eventually becomes smitten with rugby player Nick Nelson.
While Charlie is undoubtedly proud to be gay, there’s no denying that he struggles with his own self-worth and his ability to believe that he can be properly loved. Luckily, Nick steps in and the duo explore their adoration for each other, which gives Charlie an actual chance at real love.
Darcy Olsson is unapologetically herself, as she came out as a lesbain before we meet her in the first season. While she can be sarcastic and overbearing, her amusing nature and kind-hearted interior make her one of the most likable characters that fans are understandably drawn to.
Darcy’s self-condence and recognition of self-love allows her to help others — especially her girlfriend Tara, who clearly struggles with embracing her sexuality to the entire school. Darcy is easily one of the strongest characters in the series, and definitely one that fans resonate with on a personal level.
When fans first encounter Elle Argent, they discover that she is a transgender girl that is adjusting to a new school and a new group of friends. While Elle suffers bullying at the hands of Harry Greene and others, she finds a strong support system in Tara and Darcy, along with her friends from Truham.
Much like Darcy, Elle is unapologetically herself and embraces her self-love as the season progresses. Elle is extremely loyal and passionate to those she cares about, and she is certainly a role model for kids struggling to find their way in life.
Nick Nelson undergoes the most significant character development in the first season of Heartstopper, and is easily one of the most beloved characters. Nick is sweet and compassionate, which is what established him as a fan favorite amongst the show’s devoted fanbase.
Despite struggling with discovering his own sexuality and labeling, Nick is constantly supportive of Charlie, and always encourages him to do what makes him happy. Eventually, Nick finds comfortability in being bisexual, which allows him and Charlie to solidify their romantic relationship in the finale.