Darrow is the protagonist and narrator in the first Red Rising Trilogy. His experiences throughout the trilogy transform him from a humble Red Helldiver into the brave and visionary leader of The Rising with numerous supporters from various classes of society.
Darrow started out as a Red Helldiver of his clan Lambda, following in his late father and uncle's footsteps. He makes his living tunneling into Mars for the precious terra-forming resource, helium-3. When he was a teenager he was married to Eo, who was later hanged for daring to have greater aspirations for herself and her family. Darrow buried his wife, another illegal act which got himself hanged, thus setting off all the events in the first Red Rising Trilogy. He was illiterate before joining the Sons of Ares.
Before learning the ill-fated truth that the Reds are mining to maintain an already terraformed Mars, he is a family man and Miner of Lykos through and through, his ambitions and cravings not extending beyond the welfare and safety of his immediate and extended family. He is shown to be rash and without fear when he risks his life to check the stability of a gas pocket in the mines instead of waiting two hours for a team to do it safely, all so he can win the laurel for his family. He is also shown to anger quickly, as seen when the laurel is awarded to the Gammas, and only Eo can calm his rage.
In the beginning, Darrow is shown to be brave, but compromising and practical if it means safety for the people around him. Despite being pragmatic and rigid, he deeply cares for his wife and for his family, and becomes wrathful after Eo's execution.
When he is carved into a Gold, Darrow struggles with the concept of losing himself, and does his best to keep in touch with his roots as a Red. He is conscious to a degree of his heritage and feels deep pride for his origins and his people. While he initially disdains Golds, as he goes deeper into the Society he comes to respect some among them, and even befriends several Golds and falls in love with another.
During the tests for entrance into the Institute, it is shown that he has very strong characteristics in terms of rage, as shown by his draft into House Mars. Darrow's sense of personal morality leaves him conflicted in many of his choices and decisions. While he demonstrates shrewdness and ruthless cunning in his strategies and decisions, he does deeply regret the harm wrought to those he cares for or respects. His devotion to The Rising remains rigid, despite moments of self-doubt, and eventually becomes willing to take great risks to achieve his goals. In an interview, Pierce Brown said that "seeing Darrow from other people’s perspectives...he would seem like much more of a villain."
Darrow is a charismatic leader, capable of winning friends and allies with his considerable force of personality. His bold nature and skill at delivering speeches wins him the admiration and loyalty of many. He can make rash decisions without consideration for others at times, but as the series progresses, he comes to learn from his mistakes and becomes a strong leader of The Rising.
Darrow accumulated many names and nicknames throughout his life adventures. The following is a tentative list of them:
- The Reaper - Darrow's most famous alias, gained during his time at The Institute for carrying his sickle-shaped SlingBlade.
- Darrow au Andromedus - The official, albeit unreal, Gold name fabricated and registered for him by Dancer.
- L17L6363 - His Red designation during his time as a Helldiver
- The Martian - Holo Net media name
- The Red - Gold Slang
- Boss - friendly address for his subordinate.
As a lowRed, he had dull red hair and eyes. He is also stated to have a slim face, born handsome. Once he is carved into a Gold, his appearance and even height entirely change, putting him just over 7'. Even for a gold, Darrow is large, tall and with a broad chest. Mustang claims that he seems to be carved from "angry" marble and therefore is all sharp angles. His hair is gold, skin tanned, and eyes gold.
- Red Rising
Even before he is carved into a Gold, Darrow is very athletic and shown to have highly impressive dexterity and a vice grip; characteristics shared amongst most Helldivers. His dexterity impresses even other Golds, such as Mustang.
As a Gold, Darrow's powerful build and high bone density grants him superhuman speed and strength, even further enhancing his grip strength to the point where he is able to squeeze harder than the largest man in House Mars, Titus. He is able to hold his breath underwater for over eight minutes and can withstand multiple Gs of force without passing out.
Darrow has exhibited impressive skills with weapons such as his slingBlade and over time a Razor, learning from Lorn au Arcos, and is capable of defeating highly skilled fighters such as Cassius au Bellona and one of the Olympic Knights.
Darrow is a skilled leader with a knack for strategy and tactics in the battlefield. He leads House Mars to victory against considerable odds in the Institute, and wins several battles when in command of his own forces.
Darrow's wife while he was a lowRed, Eo knew Darrow when they were both children, and waited to marry him, despite being eligible for marriage three years earlier. Darrow was devoted to her and did his utmost to provide for her and ensure her comfort and happiness. Her death caused enormous emotional distress for Darrow, and is the catalyst for his infiltration of Gold Society and eventually, for Darrow's role in The Rising itself.
In Golden Son, Harmony uses the secret that Eo was pregnant at the time of her death to persuade him to commit to a suicidal plan that would cause massive civilian casualties. It is the knowledge of her pregnancy that refuels Darrow's quest for revenge against the Golds.
In Morning Star, Darrow finally stops using Eo as an excuse for revenge, and instead as a symbol of living for more.
Virginia au Augustus Edit
Known to Darrow as Mustang, Darrow met her in the Institute, where they were initially on opposing sides. However, Darrow comes to respect her, and allows her to escape the fall of House Minerva against his own forces. Later, Mustang repays him by helping to nurse Darrow back to health when he is betrayed by Cassius. Darrow and Mustang forge a deep connection, though they are at times at odds, with Darrow torn between guilt and his feelings for Mustang, and Mustang and Darrow having an ideological difference that pits them against one another. Eventually however, Darrow is able to win Mustang's trust and respect again, and they fight side by side to change the Society.
It is revealed in the end of Morning Star that she and Darrow have a son together named Pax, for their old friend from the Institute.
A brother-in-arms of Darrow prior to learning that it was Darrow who was forced into killing his twin brother, Julian. Cassius becomes consumed with a desire to avenge his brother, and betrays Darrow in the Institute, though Darrow is able to survive and claim victory. Later, Cassius fights against Darrow and The Rising, with the two developing a bitter hatred for one another. Eventually, Cassius is captured by Darrow and comes to reconcile with him, forgiving him for the death of his brother, and working with him to bring down the Sovereign. Cassius leaves into self-exile, but parts with Darrow on good terms.
Darrow's best friend, Sevro originally was viewed by Darrow as a rather odd individual, as Sevro demonstrated several eccentric behaviours and responded erratically to authority. Eventually, he becomes one of Darrow's most capable and loyal lieutenants, both inside and outside the Society. Sevro continues to look for Darrow and fight for his cause when Darrow is captured by the Jackal, and even implants Darrow's eyes from his life as a Red into himself, as a sign of loyalty and connection to him.
Darrow and Sevro are reunited, and Sevro reveals he knew about Darrow's Red heritage, bringing great relief to Darrow and affirming their deep friendship.
She enters the story in the beginning of Golden Son where she was part of Darrow's fleet in the Academy. Since then, she was open to her attraction to Darrow but she also knew her chances with him were little to none. Nonetheless, despite Darrow's initial trust issues with her, he comes to view her as one of his most loyal lieutenants. Victra is captured alongside Darrow, but never gives up even when subjected to torture. In exchange, Darrow refuses to be rescued unless Victra is saved as well.
He is present at her wedding and is happy for her and for her husband, Sevro. She is present at the end of the series, with Darrow remarking on her loyalty, and promises to tell his son about it someday.
One of the Golds Darrow encounters in the Institute, Darrow has a complex relationship with Tactus. While Tactus eventually joins Darrow and House Mars in the Institute, he proves to be a vicious and difficult ally, and causes trouble for Darrow through his insubordination. Darrow wins his respect when he whips him, and then shares his pain by having himself whipped as well. He helps Darrow achieve victory and proves to be an able fighter.
In Golden Son Tactus initially aids Darrow against the Bellona and the Sovereign, but begins to doubt Darrow's cause and feels alienated by him. He betrays Darrow and attempts to barter his way back into the good graces of the Sovereign. Darrow and Tactus are able to reconcile, with Darrow realizing how he has alienated his friends and allies, but Tactus is executed by Lorn shortly after.
One of Darrow's close friends at the Institute, Darrow appreciated Roque's calm, poetic nature, and they worked well together at the Institute. Roque is initially one of Darrow's staunchest and most capable allies, and tries to comfort him when Darrow is to be auctioned. However, Roque betrays Darrow when he learns that he is a Red and holds him to blame for Quinn's death, and is one of the primary causes for Darrow's downfall in Golden Son.
Roque is a formidable opponent against Darrow in Morning Star, and fights for the supremacy of the Golds. Darrow defeats him, and a broken, dispirited Roque commits suicide, much to the anguish of his former friend who gives him an honourable funeral.
- Pierce Brown has stated in an interview that he would imagine Darrow to have a British accent.
- 'I would have lived in peace. But my enemies brought me war.' - Red Rising, Prologue
- 'I was forged in the bowels of this hard world.' - Red Rising, Prologue
- 'I am my father's son.' - Red Rising, Ch. 1: Helldiver
- 'My people sing, we dance, we love. That is our strength. But we also dig. And then we die. Seldom do we get to choose why. That choice is power.' - Red Rising, Ch. 6: The Martyr
- 'I am Darwin's scythe. Nature scraping away the chaff.' - Red Rising, Ch. 19: The Passage
- 'Some things do not fade. Some things can never be made right.' - Red Rising, Ch. 25: Tribal War
- 'I break everything.' - Red Rising, Ch. 26: Mustang
- 'Mars has come!' - Red Rising, Ch 26: Mustang
- 'Security and justice aren't given. They are made by the strong.' - Red Rising, Ch. 27: The House of Rage
- 'I am the Reaper and death is my shadow.' - Red Rising, Ch. 32: Antonia
- 'Live for more.' - Red Rising, Ch. 34: The Northwoods
- 'Or perhaps they think I'm still a child. The fools. Alexander was a child when he ruined his first nation.' - Red Rising, Ch. 42: War on Heaven
- 'Funny how a single word can change everything in your life.' - Red Rising, Ch. 44: Rise
- 'For seven hundred years, my people have been enslaved without voice, without hope. Now I am their sword.' - Golden Son, Prologue
- 'Let him welcome me into his House, so I might burn it down.' - Golden Son, Prologue
- 'I am of the Peerless Scarred. Cruelest and brightest of all humankind.' - Golden Son, Ch. 1: Warlords
- 'In a world of killers, it takes more to be kind than to be wicked.' - Golden Son, Ch. 11: Red
- 'Momentum is everything to a Helldiver, to military endeavors, to life. Keep moving and dare someone to get in your path.' - Golden Son, Ch. 35: Teatime
- "They want me pitiless. They want my memory short. But I was raised differently."
- "Per aspera ad astra."
- "If you're watching, Eo, it's time to close your eyes. The Reaper has come. And he's brought hell with him."