A Guide to the Main Characters of CARNIVAL ROW

Carnival Row is Amazon’s new fantasy series, an epic steampunk-style show that’s as politically ripe as it is dense with unique world building. The story is set in The Burgue, a 17th century city that serves as a stand-in for London, and deals with the conflict between men and Fae. The Fae are an ancient race who preexist humanity, and hail from Tirnanoc–a mythical, magical place. Their land was eventually invaded and raided by mankind, and they were forced to leave. Many of them now occupy The Burgue, living as servants in the homes of wealthy humans, or in the slums of Carnival Row, which is essentially a red-light district.

The center of Carnival Row is a tragic love story between a Fae named Vignette Stonemoss and a man named Rycroft Philostrate. But they’re two characters in a sea of many, and with all of the names and faces introduced in the first episode, we’re here to help you remember who’s who. Here’s handy guide to the main characters of Carnival Row–including their race, occupation, and place in the story.

Vignette Stonemoss

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The main protagonist of the series, Vignette (Cara Delevigne) is a Fae who escapes Tirnanoc in the show’s opening moments, as an evil group of humans known as The Pact attack the homeland. She makes her way to a boat called the Deliverance, which is off to The Burgue, where Vignette can live as an immigrant. But the boat is attacked and sinks, with only Vignette surviving. The boat’s owner, Ezra Spurnrose, decides to keep her on as a housemaid for his sister. She eventually discovers that her former lover, Rycroft Philostrate, is alive–seven years after she learned of his apparent death. This sets up a conflict between the two, who are now living in the same city, both with their secrets.

Rycroft “Philo” Philostrate

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Image Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon

Vignette’s former lover and now a constable in The Burgue, Philo (Orlando Bloom) is a bit of a conundrum. A former soldier, he’s atoning for past sins and safeguards his many scars, choosing to uphold the mysteries of his past. He faked his death to flee Tirnanoc for reasons unknown in the first episode. As the show opens, we see him attempting to solve a series of murders and attacks against magical folk in The Burgue, a sort of Jack the Ripper-style mystery that has sinister motives and magical connotations. His quest for answers collides with Vignette’s arrival in the city, and the two must navigate their strange and entangled new reality.

The Breakspears

A Guide to the Main Characters of CARNIVAL ROW_3Image Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon

The Chancellor of Burgue, Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris) is a man caught in the web of Burgeon politics and the Fae immigrant crisis. Though generally liberal, he is frequently challenged by his more conservative and anti-magic colleagues.  Desperate to maintain his position, he is snippy with his wife Piety (Game of Thrones‘ Indira Varma)–who is pulling a lot of the strings behind the scenes–and is presented with a most unwelcome scandal when his son, Jonah, is kidnapped during a drunken romp on Carnival Row and held for ransom.

The Spurnroses

A Guide to the Main Characters of CARNIVAL ROW_4Image Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon

Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower) is a young and aristocratic heir, who is mishandling his late father’s fortune–which threatens his and his sister Imogen’s status. As owner of the ship Deliverance–which he bought in hopes of turning a profit from the Fae paying to escape their ravaged homelands–he brings survivor Vignette into his home as a servant for Imogen (Tazmin Merchant), who shares her brothers’ disdain for others and is especially bothered by their new faun neighbor. Selfish and racist, they’re two of the more easy to hate characters on Carnival Row–but there may be more lurking beneath the surface.

Mr. Agreus

A Guide to the Main Characters of CARNIVAL ROW_5Image Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon

The new neighbor of the Spurnrose siblings, Argeus is a faun who has somehow transcended the traditional social lines of The Burgue. His presence causes a stir in the Spurnrose home, and his background is a mystery in the first few episodes. Who is he, where did he come from, and how has he escaped the indentured servitude most of his people have been cursed by?

That’s just part of the intrigue of Carnival Row: You have to keep watching before the pieces reveal themselves, and when they do, it’s–quite literally–magical.

Header Image Credit: Jan Thijs/Amazon

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