War and Peace characters order by appearance
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Part One – July 1805
Anna Pavlovna's Party in Petersburg
- Anna Pavlovna Scherer – Wealthy St. Petersburg socialite, age 40. Unmarried hostess of patriotic circle.
- Prince Vasili Kuragin – A self-seeking man who has a low opinion of his children but seeks to further their interests. Convinces Pierre Bezukhov to marry his daughter Hélène despite Pierre's reservations. Self-serving and manipulative throughout the novel ("...endowed with the rare art of seizing the precise moment when he should and could make use of people"), he consistently attempts to swindle Pierre.
- Elena Sergeevna "Hélène" Kuragina – Beautiful, self-serving woman, daughter of Prince Vasili. Later Countess Bezukhova (wife of Pierre Bezukhov). Rumored at one point to have an affair with Dolokhov.
- Pierre Bezukhov – Illegitimate son of Count Bezukhov. "Massive, fat," wears glasses, educated abroad but socially inept. A freethinking, sometimes reckless, man capable of decisive action and great displays of willpower when circumstances demand it. Inherits his father's enormous fortune, wounds Dolokhov in a duel, later becomes a Freemason, and plans to assassinate Napoleon. Marries Hélène Kuragina and, after her death, Natasha Rostova.
- Hippolyte Kuragin (also Prince Ippolit) – Son of Prince Vasili. A diplomat, he is "stupid-looking," has no social graces and is dull and boring, the butt of Bilibin's humor.
- Vicomte Mortemart (only appearance) – French exile. a "pretty young gentleman with soft features and manners".
- Abbé Morio (only appearance) – Has a plan for world peace. Based on the real life priest and writer Scipione Piattoli.
- Prince Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky – Son of the domineering Prince Nikolay Andreevich Bolkonsky. A brave (at times arrogant) soldier who becomes cynical in the Napoleonic Wars; counterpart to Pierre. Valued adjutant to Kutuzov in 1805; wounded and captured at Austerlitz, he is greeted by Napoleon. Married to Lisa (the "little princess"), father of young prince Nikolay Bolkonsky, and afterwards engaged to Natasha Rostova.
- Princess Elisabeta "Lisa" Karlovna Bolkonskaya (also Lise and the "little princess") – née Meinena. Wife of Andrey Bolkonsky who feels resentment at her having made his life into a round of social trivialities. After he resolves to go off to war, he leaves her at his father's remote estate where she dies in childbirth.
- Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya – A poor, elderly lady; old friend of Countess Rostova. Relentlessly ambitious for her son Boris, she begs Prince Vassily to get Boris transferred to the Guards, then schemes against Vassily to get the dying Count Bezukhov to leave his vast fortune to his illegitimate son Pierre.
Carousing at Kuragin's with a Bear
- Anatole Kuragin – Elder son of Prince Vasili. Handsome, irresponsible and somewhat hedonistic military officer, he is the center of a circle of rowdy young men. "... not resourceful, not quick and eloquent in conversation, but he had a capacity, precious in society, for composure and unalterable assurance ... a manner of contemptuous awareness of his own superiority". Planned to seduce Natasha Rostova.
- Fedor Ivanovich "Fedya" Dolokhov – Infantry officer, rowdy daredevil. Valiant in battle, a partisan leader in 1812. A cold man, he is a noted duelist and drinker, but is caring for his disadvantaged family. Rumored to be having an affair with Hélène Bezukhov, he accepts a demand for satisfaction from her husband Pierre and is nearly killed in the ensuing duel. Proposed unsuccessfully to Sonya. His prototype was Colonel Aleksandr Figner.
- Stevens (only appearance) – English naval officer. Loses bet with Dolokhov that Dolokhov can’t drain a bottle of rum while teetering on a window ledge.
The Rostov House in Moscow
- Countess Natalya Rostova – "A thin, Oriental type of face, forty-five years old, evidently worn out by children, of whom she had twelve."
- Count Ilya Rostov – The countess's husband. Spendthrift. Optimistic father, a big, hearty, jolly man but foolish.
- Vera Rostova – The oldest Rostov daughter. Very beautiful but disliked by everyone, even her mother. She eventually marries Lieutenant Berg.
- Nikolai Rostov – Age 20, the eldest Rostov son. A junker at Schöngrabern, he falls from his horse and sprains his arm; as he flees the French infantry he thinks, "Why are they running? ... To kill me? Me, whom everybody loves so?". He eventually marries the shy and homely Princess Marya Bolkonskaya.
- Natasha Rostova – Age 13, at first in love with Boris Drubetskoy who returns her affections. Initially, a romantic young girl, she evolves through trial and suffering, including engagement to Andrey Bolkonsky which is terminated by his death, and eventually finds a sort of domestic happiness with Pierre Bezukhov.
- Petya Rostov – Age 9, the youngest Rostov son. Becomes a soldier; killed in a partisan raid.
- Sonya – The 'sterile flower'. Orphaned cousin of Vera, Nikolai, Natasha, and Petya Rostov, in love with Nikolai but at first he has eyes only for Julie Karagina. Engaged to Nikolai throughout most of the book, toward the end she releases him to marry Princess Marya.
- Boris Drubetskoy – Army officer, ambitious son of Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya, childhood friend of Countess Rostova. Annoyed by his mother’s importunings of Prince Vassily on his behalf. Fought at Austerlitz and later married Julie Karagina, thereby becoming rich.
- Dmitri Vasileyevich ("Miten'ka") (only appearance) – Nobleman, faithful manager of the Rostovs' accounts.
- Marya Lvovna Karagina (only appearance) – Mother of Julie Karagina, "tall, stout, proud-looking".
- Julie Karagina – Wealthy heiress, "round-faced, smiling". Friend of Marya Bolkonskaya, marries Boris Drubetskoy.
The Bezukhov House in Moscow
- Count Kirill Vladimirovich Bezukhov (only appearance) – Father of Pierre, had served in Catherine II's court. Extremely wealthy, owns 40,000 “souls” (i.e., adult male serfs). Dies after sixth stroke without having uttered a word of dialogue.
- Princess Katerina "Katishe" Mamontova – Eldest of Count Bezukhov's three nieces, known as "the three princesses." Furious at the machinations of the grasping Anna Mikhailovna and Prince Vassily to divert her uncle's vast fortune to her cousin Pierre.
Back at the Rostovs'
- Pyotr Nikolaitch Shinshin (only appearance) – Relative of Countess Natalya Rostova, famous for biting wit.
- Lieutenant Alphonse Karlovich Berg – German officer, cares for no talk except about himself. Later marries the highly disliked Vera Rostova.
- Marya Dmitriyevna Akhrosimova – Relative of Count Rostov and matchmaker. Le terrible dragon, large and tall, she has no money or social standing but is invited everywhere because she will say anything.
Bald Hills, the Bolkonsky Estate
- Prince Nikolay Andreevitch Bolkonsky – Father of Prince Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky and Princess Marya Bolkonskaya. Exiled to his remote estate about 100 miles from Moscow by Tsar Paul (r. 1796-1801). A general in earlier wars, he is writing his memoirs to support a future history of the campaigns of General Suvorov (1729-1800). A relentlessly domineering man, he subjects his daughter to exacting standards in her academic work and constant bullying in her personal life.
- Princess Marya Bolkonskaya – A plain woman who struggles between the obligations of her religion and the desires of her heart. Lives in constant fear of her father's ceaseless bullying. Later marries Nikolai Rostov.
- Mademoiselle Amélie Bourienne – Orphaned French companion to Princess Marya Bolkonskaya and her father. Very pretty, she attracts the attention of Anatole Kuragin away from his intended, Princess Marya.
- Tikhon – The elder Prince Bolkonsky's gray-haired butler.
- Mikhail Ivanovich (only appearance) – The elder Prince Bolkonsky's architect. Invited to the dining table by the rigidly hierarchical prince to prove to his daughter that all men are equal, he remains silent throughout the meals.
Part Two – October 1805
- General Kutuzov (1745-1813) – An "eagle's beak on his plump face," had lost an eye at the Siege of Izmail. His diligence and modesty eventually save Russia from French invasion.
- Prince Nesvitsky – "A tall staff officer, extremely fat, with a kind, smiling, handsome face and moist eyes."
- Captain Timokhin (only appearance) – Red-nosed captain, valiant in battle, had lost two teeth at the Siege of Izmail. "We all have our weaknesses ... his was a devotion to Bacchus."
- Zherkov – A cornet of hussars and adjutant to Prince Bagration. A joker, he mocks an Austrian general, raising Andrei Bolkonsky's ire.
- Prince Kozlovsky – Aide-de-camp to General Kutuzov.
- General Mack (1752-1828) – Austrian general. Glumly arrives at Kutuzov's headquarters with the news that he surrendered his entire army to Napoleon following the Battle of Ulm.
- Vasily "Vas'ka" Denisov – Russian military officer, friend to Nikolai Rostov. Tends to pronounce some, but not all, of his R's like W's (like GR's in the Pevear/Volkhonsky translation). Eventually a general of partisan troops during the French retreat from Moscow. Proposes unsuccessfully to Natasha Rostova.
- Lavrushka – Valet to Denisov, later valet to Nikolai Rostov. A rogue. Misled Napoleon.
- Lieutenant Telyanin (only appearance) – Steals Denisov's purse; abjectly gives it back when confronted by Nikolai Rostov.
- Staff-Captain Kirsten (only appearance) – Very honorable and proud of his regiment. "Had twice been broken to the ranks for affairs of honour and had twice won back his commission."
- Bilibin (only appearance) – Russian diplomat to Austria, "about thirty-five, a bachelor, of the same society as Prince Andrei ... His thin, drawn, yellowish face was all covered with deep wrinkles ... The movements of these wrinkles constituted the main play of his physiognomy."
- Emperor Francis I of Austria (1768-1835) – "A ruddy, long-faced young man..." Meets with Prince Andrei after Andrei brings the news of Kutuzov's close-call victory at Schöngrabern. "The emperor spoke with such an expression as if his whole goal consisted in asking a certain number of questions. The replies to these questions, as was only too clear, were of no interest to him."
- Franz – Bilibin's servant
With the Army in the Field Near Etzelsdorf
- Prince Bagration (1765-1812) – "A firm and immobile face of the Oriental type, dry, not yet an old man." Considered "the hero of heroes" by Tolstoy. Modest and polite but possesses a very strong character, an accurate image of Bagration in real life. Fights the French in a rear-guard action near Schöngrabern in 1805, protecting Kutuzov. Commander of an army in 1812, he is killed at Borodino.
- Captain Tushin – "Large, intelligent, kindly eyes". Commander of a battery of four cannon that valiantly holds the center of the Russian line at Schöngrabern. Loses an arm at Friedland.
Part Three – November 1805
Prince Vasili's House in Petersburg
- Princess Aline Kuragina (only appearance) – Wife of Prince Vasili, "a massive, once-beautiful, imposing woman"
- Yakov Alpatych (only appearance) – Steward of the Bolkonsky estate. He has the avenue cleared of snow in expectation of the arrival of Prince Vasili and his son Anatole; the spiteful elder Prince Bolkonsky swings at him with a walking stick and orders him to put the snow back.
- Tsar Alexander I of Russia (1777-1825) – Reviews the combined Russian/Austrian armies at Olmütz, "...with his pleasant face and sonorous but not loud voice, attracted the full force of attention." Liberal emperor early in his reign but gradually became more conservative.
- Prince Dolgorukov – Hearty Russian general. Prince Andrei seeks his assistance in getting patronage for Boris Drubetskoy.
- Prince Adam Czartoryski (1770-1861) – Minister of Foreign Affairs. "...a short man ... with an intelligent face and a distinctive, sharply protruding jaw..." Prince Andrei calls him "one of the most remarkable, and for me most unpleasant, of men."
- Franz von Weyrother (1755-1806) – Austrian general who presents his plan for the attack at Austerlitz to the other Allied generals. Kutuzov dozes through the presentation, Langeron is skeptical. In the event, the battle is a disaster for the Allies and Weyrother retires from military life.
- Mikhail Miloradovich (1771-1825) – Russian general at the debacle of Austerlitz
- Count Langeron (1763-1831) – Noble who left France. An Allied commander at Austerlitz, where his troops were decimated.
- General Dokhturov (1756-1816) – One of the characters used as a mouthpiece by Tolstoy to express his disillusionment with the tendency of historians to attribute the course of events to the will of certain iconic, often heroic figures despite the fact that more obscure but perhaps equally influential characters contributed to the eventual outcome. "Short ... with a diligent, modest look." Unheralded but played a decisive role at Austerlitz, Smolensk, Borodino, and Maley Yaroslavetz.
At the Battle of Austerlitz
- Captain von Toll (1777-1842) – German officer who helps the distraught Tsar Alexander across a ditch at a lonely farmhouse after the rout of the Russian center at Austerlitz; this moment is watched helplessly by Nikolai Rostov who wanted desperately to help his sovereign in some way. Serves as a colonel in 1812.
- Napoléon Bonaparte (1761-1821) – The Great Man, ruined by great blunders.
- Prince Repnin – Squadron commander of Russian army at Austerlitz. Treated as a wounded prisoner alongside Andrei Bolkonsky after the battle, he is greeted courteously by Napoléon.