How Fantasy Characters Would Fare in the Upside Down
[Still from Stranger Things, Netflix]
In the first episode of Netflix's binge-worthy series Stranger Things, aptly titled “The Vanishing of Will Byers,” a young boy with a fondness for X-Men comics and Dungeons & Dragons gets pulled into a creepy parallel dimension that his friends later dub the Upside Down. Throughout the series, several more characters wind up visiting the Upside Down, either in an attempt to get Will back or because they were dragged there against their will, with varying results. Some come away unscathed. Others… not so much.
We're looking at how a few beloved fantasy characters might fare in Stranger Things's dark, slug-infested, relentlessly damp alternate world.
Westley, The Princess Bride
The Dread Pirate
Westley Roberts wouldn't want to build a summer home there, but would probably think the trees are actually quite lovely. From surviving an unsurvivable pirate attack, to strolling out of the Fire Swamp largely unscathed, to bouncing back from being “mostly dead,” Westley has shown himself to be almost infinitely adaptable in treacherous scenarios, and the Upside Down would be no exception. Not only would Westley probably not die, he likely wouldn't even be in any hurry to leave.
Fate: Could live there quite happily for some time.
Daenerys Targaryen, A Song of Ice and Fire
While Dany is a force to be reckoned with in Westeros, she probably wouldn't fare so well in the Upside Down. Sure, she is immune to fire, but that's probably not much of an advantage once you're in Demogorgon territory. Without her armies, advisers, or dragons to help her, the Mother of Dragons doesn't seem to possess all that many survival skills, plus all that platinum blond hair would likely act like a beacon in the gloomy Upside Down.
Fate: The First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Khalisee of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, and…probably Demogorgon food, sorry.
Tristran Thorn, Stardust
A lot depends on whether we're talking about Tristran at the beginning of Stardust or at the end, because the one in the beginning would've been dead before he even realized he was no longer in Wall. However, the Tristran from the end stands a fighting chance, especially if he happens to have a Babylon candle on him when he's taken (does anyone in the Upside Down have a spare lighter?). Even if he doesn't, the skills and confidence he picks up during his adventures would likely keep him alive at least long enough for him to be rescued by Yvaine, who could undoubtedly shine that Demogorgon clear into the next dimension.
Fate: Too ignorant to be scared, too young to be awed, Tristran Thorn traveled beyond the world we know… and lived to tell the tale.
Lucy Pevensie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
At first glance, Lucy doesn't have any innate skills that would aid her in the Upside Down, but she might fare better than you'd think. Much like Will Byers, Lucy is small, which would make it easier for her to hide, and her optimism and emotional fortitude give her a real advantage over the mind games of the Upside Down. Besides, Lucy is no stranger to stumbling into strange new worlds adjacent to our own, and she didn't do too badly in the last one.
Fate: Once a king or queen of the Upside Down, always a king or queen of the Upside Down.
Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
It's safe to say that most people would hate getting stuck in the Upside Down, but let's be honest, Bilbo Baggins would hate it more than most. No tea, no breakfast, no second breakfast, no clean plates or warm fire. Even if he was pulled into the Upside Down with his two greatest tools – Sting and the Ring – it's unlikely either would do him much good. The Demogorgon is far scarier than an orc, and wouldn't trigger Sting's handy light-up feature, and putting on the Ring would only cause Bilbo to lose his grip on reality that much faster. Unless Gandalf notices he's missing, his chances don't look too great.
Fate: Not all those who wander are lost… but let's face it, Bilbo probably is.
Hermione Granger, Harry Potter
By the time Hermione is finished with the Upside Down, it will probably have to be called the Rightside Up. It's a no-brainer that Hermione would be just fine as long as she had her wand, but even if she didn't, she could probably just apparate herself out of there. And if it's impossible to apparate out of the Upside Down? The brightest witch of her age would still have no trouble finding her way out, thanks to her clever thinking and coolness under pressure. She would probably even figure out a way to stop the Demogorgon and close the gate to the Upside Down once and for all while she's at it.
Fate: Pleased that she wasn't killed – or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, she's going to bed.
Lauren is a writer of YA speculative fiction and a dedicated eater of queso. She lives in Middle Tennessee with her husband, two daughters, and a half-blind dog. When she’s not busy with her family, binge-watching TV shows, or writing books about dragons or superheroes, she can probably be found on Twitter, or in close proximity to coffee, tacos, or a bookstore.