The Homeward Bounders
Author Diana Wynne Jones
Cover Artist Graham Townsend
Publication information
Publisher Macmillan
UK Release Date 1981
US Release Date 1981


Jamie happens upon a group of mysterious creatures known only as Them, who immediately "discard" him into their War Game as a random factor, making him a Homeward Bounder fated to cross the Bounds from world-to-world until he finds his way home again. Along the way he meets a nameless, otherworldly man chained to granite, the Flying Dutchman, the Wandering Jew, and other Homeward Bounders of his own age. They gang up together to try to defeat Them once and for all so that they can return home.


The Homeward Bounders Edit

  • Jamie Hamilton - The main character from whom the story is told. Jamie becomes an experienced Homeward Bounder through his many travels and has become adept at mastering new languages
  • Helen - A girl from a brutal world across the Bounds, Helen is moody and known to hide her face behind her hair. She was born with a shriveled but magical arm, thought in her world to be the Hand of Uquar. She can transform her arm into anything she pleases.
  • Joris - A slave owned by the legendary demon-hunter Konstam, who Joris talks about incessantly.
  • The Flying Dutchman - A skinny, haggard man running a ship that can never sink but is in severe disrepair. His crew has given up on things like eating since Homeward Bounders cannot die, and resemble monkeys.
  • Ahasuerus - The Wandering Jew, a man who has been Homeward Bound for so long that he has lost his wits.

Side Characters Edit

  • Uquar - The chained man, given this name by Helen's people. The creatures known as They chain him because he tries to spread the knowledge of their plan to make the world unreal to mankind. He is waiting for someone who has completely given up hope to free him. It is implied that there is a connection to Prometheus in his character, as other people think he is locked up because he started fires.
  • Adam Macready - A normal boy on Earth in 1980 who goes to a boys' school and tries to bully Adam and Joris when they arrive in his world because they are caught stealing his clothes. He becomes an ally to them in the battle against Them, though he is haughty and tries to sell his sister into slavery.
  • Vanessa Macready - Adam's sister, who he tries to sell into slavery to Konstam for some quick money.
  • Konstam - The legendary demon-hunter himself. He is kind and smart and cares enough for Joris to buy him out of slavery.
  • Elsie Hamilton - Jamie's sister, who he misses dearly as he travels the worlds.
  • Fred - A skeleton in Adam and Vanessa's home.