|Status: Alive (as a tree)|
|Hair color: Black|
|Eye color: Black|
| Relatives: |
Marcus Edge † (father)
Cora Byrn † (mother)
Jessica Byrn † (maternal half-sister)
Deborah Byrn † (maternal half-sister)
Arran Byrn (maternal half-brother)
David Ashworth † (maternal grandfather)
Elsie Ashworth † (maternal grandmother)
Axel Edge † (paternal grandfather)
Saba † (paternal grandmother)
David † (brother-in-law)
"I was wounded, not lost."
Nathan Byrn is the main character of the Half Bad trilogy. He is half White Witch and half Black Witch, also known as a Half Code. He is the son of Cora Byrn and Marcus Edge, the most feared black witch in England.
Nathan Byrn's life was hard from the very beginning, his mother Cora Byrn committed suicide when he was at a very young age. He was born on 21st of June, 1996 and he turns 17 at the end of Half Bad. His grandmother Elsie Ashworth took care of Nathan and his three siblings, Jessica, Deborah and Arran, after Cora's death. He was very close with Arran as he grew up, as Arran was only two years older than him and did not see him as 'half black' like his oldest sister Jessica, but chose to focus on the 'half white' side of him, as did his Gran and Deborah though they were not as close.
Nathan received education from a private school until he was expelled for beating up Connor O'Brien, shouting at the headteacher and vandalizing school property. From then on Gran home-schooled Nathan, though he never properly learned to read or write.
During his private school education and for most of the time he spent in homeschooling afterwards he developed a relationship with Annalise O'Brien who he fell in love with. After being expelled they would meet in secret, but before he could confess his romantic feelings, her brothers found out and beat him badly. He didn't see Annalise for several years after this incident.
Throughout his childhood, several notifications were released, each one limiting Nathan's freedom. The first notification prevented all Half Codes and Half Bloods (half witch, half fain) from having a Giving ceremony without permission from the council. The following notifications arrive over the course of 17 years, and they order him to alert the council of all interactions he has with other witches: inform the council of all the places he visits; be assessed every year on his birthday until he can be categorized into being either a 'white' or 'black' witch.
When he was 14 a notification was issued that stated he had to be taken by Celia, his new 'teacher and guardian' and raised away from his family. He lived in an outdoor cage for two years, and was assessed regularly, but was taken to London two months before his 17th birthday. It was during the time in his cage that his Gran commits suicide after the council pressured her to do so.
In London, he was assessed and told about a new notification that stated that all Half Codes had to be 'codified' which was what the procedure used to mark Nathan was called. The marks appear similar to tattoos, except the ink goes down to the bone and will grow back with the skin - it cannot be removed. Nathan has three small marks on the smallest finger of his left hand, and larger marks on the back of his right hand, neck and leg. The marks all read B 0.5. It is later revealed that the council were planning on making a witch's bottle using his finger, which would given them the power to control Nathan, as they would be able to put him in immense pain from any distance. It was said that this was a possible method to force Nathan to murder to murder Marcus, his father.
However before this could happen, Nathan escaped using a nail he had embedded into the inside of his cheek before had been taken from his cage. Following the instruction of the white witch Mary, he then searched for the black witch Mercury who he hoped would host his giving ceremony by giving him three gifts and allowing him to drink the blood of his mother which Mercury had in her possession.
He meets up with Bob, after meeting a Half Blood named Ellen (who used the alias 'Nikita') who told him to meet with two people who would get him to Mercury. Bob also told Nathan to investigate whether the marks on his hand from when he was codified were tracking chips. After Nathan found out the marks were not tracking chips, he used the fake passport he bought with stolen money and took an airplane to Geneva Airport.
Wearing glasses, a scarf and gloves to hide his identity and his marks, Nathan meets up with a nameless man who has been told to watch and keep Nathan in an apartment until Mercury is ready to meet him. The man later introduces himself to Nathan as Gabriel, and they stay in an apartment in Geneva together for a few days.
Nathan traveled to Mercury's cottage with Gabriel, through a cut which linked together the roof of the apartment and the roof of Mercuries cottage. Immediately after arriving, Gabriel warns him not to step off the roof unless he is touching Mercury, as doing so would activate a trespass spell.
Nathan meets Mercury and her white witch assistant, Rose. Mercury then agrees to perform Nathan's Giving ceremony in exchange for two favors - that Nathan will tell her everything he knows about his tattoos, and that he will kill his father, Marcus. Nathan tells Mercury that he will not kill his father and instead Mercury asked for his services for a year, which Nathan accepted but says that he will not kill people.
Nathan was surprised to learn that Annalise is seeking Mercury's help, and was quickly angered at the suggestion that she may be a spy. Gabriel and Rose leave to steal the Fairborn from Clay, which left Nathan on the cottage roof with Annalise. On the roof, Annalise tells him what she knows about the protections on the house used by the Hunters. Mercury used the trespass spell on the roof which makes Annalise fall into a coma-like state, and tells Nathan to warn Gabriel and Rose about the password needed to get into the house.
After Rose steals the Fairborn they are immediately intercepted by a Hunter who Nathan accidentally kills. During the skirmish, Rose is killed and Nathan is shot. Gabriel then gives Nathan the Fairborn and leaves to distract the Hunters which allowed Nathan to continue. When Nathan sees Jessica and he chooses to attack her and injured her arms and left her with a cut across her face in the process. However, he was almost unable to further injure Jessica once she used her shapeshifting gift to transform into his brother, Arran.
Once the fight was over, Nathan travelled back to Mercury's cottage by bus, train and on foot as he could not use the cut due to the fact that there were Hunters surrounding the apartment where the cut iwas located. The Hunter bullet he was shot with is steadily poisoning him throughout this entire journey and eventually he is forced to to cut into his wound with the Fairborn, which leaves him unconscious for a while. When he wakes up the Fairborn is gone and he realizes it is his seventeenth birthday.
In the next scene, Nathan returns to Mercury's cottage but he finds that neither Mercury nor Annalise is there. Nathan then notices that time is slowing down which makes realizes that his Marcus is there. Marcus cuts the bullet out of Nathan's side, before performing a rather unusual Giving ceremony, with one of the three gifts being Nathan's life rather than a tangible object. He allows Nathan to drink his blood and the leaves.
Mercury appears soon after and Nathan tells her that Rose is dead and the Hunters have a way of detecting cuts. Mercury orders Nathan to bring her Marcus' head or heart if he ever wants Annalise back. Following this, Nathan runs away from the cottage to evade the approaching hunters and to find Gabriel.
Half Wild begins with Nathan suffering from his uncontrollable gift - the ability to shape shift into animals, the same Gift as his father and grandfather, and seemingly the rest of his male black witch ancestors. He is staying in a patch of woods near Mercury's cottage, and waiting for Gabriel at a rendezvous point they had agreed to meet at in case anything went wrong - which it had. After a month of waiting, Gabriel hasn't returned, and Nathan leaves, leaving a carving of a knife Gabriel gave to Nathan as a gift, behind after accepting his friend's assumed death.
Eventually he is found by Nesbitt, who reveals Gabriel is alive and brings Nathan to Van. Nesbitt found the Fairborn by a nearly dead Nathan after he was shot and also saved Gabriel, both of which are now with Van. Van and Nathan work out a deal that she will help Gabriel fix his gift, help Nathan save Annalise, and give the Fairborn back to Nathan if he joins the Alliance of Free Witches.
They first fix Gabriel by having Nathan and Gabriel enter a dream like state inside Gabriel's mind. After three attempts this works and Gabriel regains control gift and his powers are strengthened.
Next they go to save Annalise from Mercury. On the way, however, it is revealed that Celia is a member of the Alliance. Nathan almost kills her and rejects the Alliance but in the end overcomes his feelings about her. They track down Pilot, whose a close friend of Mercury, but before they can try to pressure her to tell them Mercury's location they are attacked by Hunters. Pilot is shot twice and will not survive. To figure out the location, Nathan has to kill Pilot and use her blood for a potion that allows him to enter her memory and eventually find Mercury's location.
After they find Mercury, Nathan and Gabriel manage to convince her to let them in, Gabriel being in the disguise of a new apprentice for Mercury, and Nathan convinces Mercury to wake Annalise. Mercury finds out their plan and a fight breaks out, in which Nathan transforms into an animal and manages to kill her.
After the battle the group, consisting of Nathan, Van, Nesbitt, Gabriel, and Annalise, decide to stay in the bunker for awhile. Van returns the Fairborn to Nathan and him and Annalise finally become a true couple. However, when Annalise was recovering but before she was completely awake Gabriel and Nathan kissed. Nathan is unsure of his feelings for Gabriel but knows he loves Annalise and decides to be with her, causing a lot of tension between him and Gabriel all while Annalise knows nothing of their kiss.
They join the Alliance of Free Witches and Nathan is sent to try and recruit his father, which he is able to do after spending a week with him. When they return they move to a forest and the war begins.
Eventually Nathan tells Annalise that he killed her brother, Kieran, in the beginning of the book. Annalise is hurt and walks away. Over the next few days they become more distant until the final battle of the book, in which Annalise's other brother, Conner, is fighting against them. He is captured but he tries to get a gun and Marcus tries to stop him, prompting Annalise to shoot Marcus. While the others flee back to camp Nathan is told by his father to cut himself open and eat Marcus's heart, which he does and gains his fathers gifts.
Nathan has spent his time since Half Wild training his new gifts. He and Gabriel camp separate from the rest of the Alliance as they fear him and he doesn't want to be near them. He is completely consumer for his want of revenge against Annalise. After awhile he discovers a hunter encampment and kills them all, freeing their prisoner, Donna, who claims she wanted to join the Alliance and was captured. They return to the camp with her and then eventually decide to go to the main camp, led by Celia. Before they go Nathan discovers that Annalise has been her prisoner since the end of Half Wild and is enraged, disappearing for several days. He realizes that how harsh he was with everyone, especially Gabriel who he spat at, was wrong and returns more calm and ready to change. By the time they get to the main camp it's been attacked, almost all of the Alliance members stationed there are dead, including Van. They find out the body's are trapped to explode when moved and have to leave them there. Before Van's death she told Nathan and Celia of an amulet(the one she received half of from Gabriel in Half Wild) that makes someone invincible. She gave her half to Ledger, the most powerful Black Witch, and Ledger said they would repair it if they believed they believed that they found someone worthy of it. Nesbitt, whose decided to leave the Alliance after Van's death, brings Nathan and Gabriel back to Mercury's bunker and shows them a cut that will bring them to the map room, the entrance to Ledger's home. While in the Bunker Nathan reveals that he loves Gabriel too and they have sex.
Entering through a magical map Gabriel and Nathan are separated. Nathan meets Ledger who is eventually convinced that he is worthy. While Ledger can't repair the amulet they can make it work by creating a witch's bottle with Nathan's finger, similar to how Hunters have been using witch's bottles for invisibility. He agrees and Ledger reveals to have Gabriel asleep. Nathan and Gabriel stay there for a few days and Nathan trains with Ledger for all kinds of different gifts which allows them to discover that he can be drowned still but it takes a long time, and that he is still susceptible to gifts like mind control. Nathan also gives Gabriel his father's ring, saying he wants him to have it forever (basically Nathan is subtle at marriage proposals). Nathan and Gabriel return to the Alliance and they plan their attack. Nathan breaks into the Tower, a White Witch prison, and then allows the rest of the Alliance in. They kill or defeat all the Hunters and then use a cut in the tower to access the Council Building. Nathan's first mission is to kill or capture Wallend. When he finds Wallend he forces him to bring him to the Hunter's invisibility witch's bottles and he destroys them. Wallend captured Nathan but he breaks free and kills Wallend. Next he finds Soul, who uses a new potion called "blue" that allows people immune to it(like Soul) to mind control others. Soul controls Nathan and shows him Annalise, who had been captured by Soul. Annalise is regretful for what she did to Nathan and helps him break free by mentioning Gabriel and how Soul will hurt him, sending Nathan into a rage. Nathan kills Soul in animal form and tells Annalise that if she stays where she is she might live. The Alliance by then has followed through the cut and taken over most of the council, but Jessica and the Hunters are still resisting.
Nathan attacks them but they have Gabriel and Adele, another Aliance member whose dating Nathan's brother Arran, hostage. Nathan manages to free them but Gabriel is gazed by a bullet and unable to fight due to the poison. Jessica trys to escape and kill Nathan. In her attempt Nathan kills her but she shoots Gaberiel. Nathan try's to freeze time but he realizes he can't unfreeze Arran to use his healing on Gaberiel and kisses Gaberiel one last time as his love and best friends dies in his arms.
Several months later Nathan, Arran, and the seemingly alive Gaberiel are with Ledger. They stay there for a long time and Arran makes Nathan drink different potions he makes. After awhile it's revealed that Gaberiel is a hallucination and a side affect of Arran's potions. Nathan leaves Wales and lives in a forest near a lake. He sleeps in a den while it rains and outside when it doesn't. Arran and Adele visit twice a year and bring him news of the Joint Witch Council and the new hunters, led by Greatorex. They also reveal that Annalise is getting married and that she served a year in prison and left. They reveal that she is raising Nathan and her's son who she gave birth to some time during her inprisonment. She named him Edge after Nathan's family name and he looks remarkably like Nathan, but with brighter eyes.
Time passes, and Celia moves near him and builds a cabin to live in. They will eat together some times. His 22nd birthday is the last day they see each other. On this day, Nathan tells Celia "Ledger told me he thought the Essence was in the earth, and he's right, but it's in us as well and when we connect the two we can access it, and anyone who's connected to it" and then he leaves her, saying quietly to himself "Wounded, not lost." One day she goes looking for Nathan and can't find him. She eventually goes to Gabriel's grave, which Nathan dug himself, lives near, and visited often. A large tree has grown on top of the grave and she realizes what he's done. She often would visit Nathan and read to him. The tree is in fact Nathan. Nathan has become a very powerful witch and has found a way to be with Gabriel as his vision had foretold....their spirits connected through the "Essence" which is flows strong in the earth.
Nathan is quick to become angry and violent but is often silent (he thinks that he is like his father about this). He can't read or write above a very basic level but is still intelligent. He loves nature (especially woods and mountains) and drawing. Like all black witches he cannot sleep inside at night, but this does not bother him as he finds the indoors too confining. Throughout the first book he uses a technique called 'the trick' in which he forces himself not to mind or care about anything, he uses this to survive his life in the cage and to be able to bear pain, after seeing it in a film he watched with Arran.
Physical description Edit
Nathan thinks that he looks like his father, Marcus, because he doesn't look like anyone from his mother's side. He has straight black hair and olive skin. His eyes are black, and Nathan can see dull, black triangles tumbling slowly. He was small as a child but by age 16 he is medium height. He has a lot of scars, including severe burn marks on his right hand and 'BW' carved into his back by Kieran O'Brien. He has 6 tattoo like brands that are magically imbedded into him that say B 0.5, both showing his half black nature and being useable to create a very powerful witches bottle. He covers up the tattoo's with fingerless gloves, pants, and an Arab scarf.
According to Sally Green the tree on the cover of Half Lost is in fact Nathan as a tree. It being seemingly on fire, however, is just stylizing and never actually happened to him.
Abilities and skills Edit
In Half Bad Nathan's gift was unknown. His only abilities were self healing and being able to identify witches, half bloods and fains by looking at their eyes. In Half Wild it was revealed that Nathan has the same natural gift as his father, which is to turn into animals. At the end of Half Wild, Nathan eats his father's heart and obtains his gifts. Nathan is very skilled in combat without the aid of his gifts, his weapon of choice being a knife.
- Control over metal
- Potion making
- Shapeshifting (Animal)
- Shapeshifting (Human)
- Molecular Deceleration
- Arran Byrn: Nathan's half brother but is always kind to Nathan and seems to be able to disregaurd the fact that they have different fathers.
- Jessica Byrn: Jessica is Nathan's half sister. Unlike Arran she detests Nathan and sees him only as the black witch that caused her mother's death.
- Gabriel: Gabriel is Nathan's actual husband. When they first met Nathan was a bit unsure of him but they grew to be very close. Gabriel has expressed romantic attraction to Nathan and while Nathan did kiss him once he doesn't return Gabriel's feelings. After Annalise's betrayal, however, he eventually finds himself feeling the same way Gabriel feels about him. They grow very close through Half Lost to the point where Nathan give's him his father's ring. After Gabriel dies Nathan uses his shapeshifting ability to turn into a tree on top of his grave.
- Nesbitt: Nesbitt, having first met Nathan in the forest near Mercury's cabin, is friendly towards Nathan but some of his jokes are poorly thought out and anger Nathan greatly, causing Nathan to have a general distaste for the man. Nesbitt told Van that Nathan was his friend even if Nathan didn't know it yet.
- Van: While saying Van is Nathan's friend might be an overstatement, they get along fairly well and work together well. Van is a powerful black witch and is able to help Nathan save Annalise.
- Annalise O'Brien: Annalise is the first witch outside of his family Nathan was able to really get along with. Despite being a white witch they quickly became friends and fell in love. However, before they could truly express how they felt about each-other Annalise's brothers assaulted Nathan, considering him to a black witch, and they were unable to see each-other for several years as Nathan was sent to Celia. After he escapes the Council of White Witches and eventually finds Mercury, Annalise also flees and ends up there too as she is searching for him. However, Mercury puts her in a death-like sleep and keeps her prisoner until Nathan eventually tricks Mercury into freeing Annalise and then kills Mercury. When Annalise discovers Nathan killed Kieran she becomes distant and eventually in an attempt to save her other brother, Conner, who is a hunter, she shoots Marcus which ultimately leads to Nathan having to kill him at his father's own wish in order to get his gifts. This causes Nathan's feelings to change drastically towards Annalise.
- Kieran O'Brien: Kieran is Annalise's older brother and the one who lead the charge against Nathan when Annalise and Nathan would meet in secret. He is the one who carved the letters B and W into Nathan's back. He, being a Hunter, tries to capture Nathan when he is at Mercury's cabin but is killed by Nathan in animal form.
- Celia: When Nathan was taken to the cage Celia became his teacher and caretaker. She trained him hard until he was in peak physical condition and taught him how to fight. While he was never able to beat her in fighting she still trained him to a level above most hunters in close combat. When he discovers she is part of the Alliance he almost kills her and refuses to join the Alliance, although it is stated that he doesn't hate her.
- Mercury: Mercury is Nathan's great great aunt. When Nathan escaped the Council of White Witches he eventually made his way to her, knowing she would have his mother's blood and be able to give him his three gifts. She agrees to in return he tells her everything about his tattoos and serves her for one year, in which time she hopes to convince him to kill his father. However, when he goes to steal the Fairborn with Gabriel and Rose he is given his gifts by his father who visits him afterwards. Mercury uses the only bargaining chip she has left: Annalise, who she has captive, to try and convince Nathan to kill his father. Ultimately Nathan kills her after tricking her to revive Annalise.
- There is some confusion over the spelling of Nathan's surname, which was spelt Byrne on a page of Half Bad advertising the audiobook, and Brynn on the Half Lost inside flap summary. The correct spelling appears to be without the 'e'.
- Sally Green, the author of the series, says that she believes Nathan and Gabriel are together in a spirtual sense(possibly within the Essence). However, this was purpousfully left ambiguous to let readers decide on their own.