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I'm going to my friends. I'm going home.

–Eleven, November 4, 1984


Jane "El" Hopper (born Jane Ives), better known as Eleven, is a major character in the first and second season of Stranger Things. She is portrayed by Millie Bobby Brown.

Eleven was kidnapped and raised in Hawkins National Laboratory where she was experimented on for her inherited psychokinetic abilities. After escaping from the lab, she was found by Mike, Lucas, and Dustin. Upon discovering her abilities, Mike believed that she could help find Will, their missing friend. During their time together, she formed a strong bond with Mike. It was eventually revealed that, in a lab experiment, she made contact with a creature from another dimension, accidentally opening an inter-dimensional gateway. Eleven eventually faced and destroyed this monster in a showdown at Hawkins Middle School, mysteriously vanishing in the process, after bidding farewell to Mike.

Eventually, she was found to be alive, secretly living with Jim Hopper at his grandfather's old cabin. After she grew impatient from being separated from her friends, Eleven went on a journey by herself, discovering her past in the process. Realizing that she could not leave her friends behind, she returned to Hawkins, reuniting with them, to help defeat yet another extra-dimensional threat. Eleven was then taken in by Hopper as his adopted daughter. Later, Eleven attended the Snow Ball dance with Mike, who invited her the previous year.

History

Birth and Early Life

In the early 1970s, a young woman named Terry Ives participated in the controversial government program known as MKUltra. [1] As a test subject, Terry would take part in experiments involving psychedelic drugs and sensory deprivation.

Unbeknownst to Terry, she had somehow become pregnant during this period. She gave birth to a girl, naming her Jane. Due to the experimentation on Terry, Jane was born with various extraordinary psychokinetic abilities.[2] Immediately after her birth, she was abducted and raised by Dr. Martin Brenner. Growing up in Hawkins Lab, she was not referred to by her given name, instead being labeled as “011,” indicating her place as a test subject. Brenner built himself up as a father figure in the mind of Eleven, making her refer to him as "Papa." In the early years of her life at the lab, she was allowed to play in the "rainbow room" with Eight, another child test subject.

While Terry believed her daughter was still alive, Terry's sister believed Jane never existed. Due to her birth being covered up as a miscarriage, there were no birth certificates or medical records of Eleven's existence, allowing her to be the perfect human test subject.[1]

1971 - 1983: Psychokinetic training

Eleven was trained by the government in Hawkins National Laboratory. Through tests, scientists wished to discover and enhance the extent of her psychic abilities. She was the subject of at least four experiments. To punish her for any failures, Eleven was often dragged into and locked in a solitary cell for great periods of time, the experience of which severely traumatized her with a fear of confinement.

In the first known experiment, Eleven was presented with a cola can, which she then crushed using telekinesis. Although her nose began bleeding soon afterwards, Dr. Brenner seemed pleased nonetheless.

The next experiment involved using her powers to manipulate a living creature. Dr. Brenner presented Eleven with a cat, but she could not bring herself to do anything to it. As punishment for her refusal, the pleading girl was dragged into the cell by two guards. Refusing to be locked in again, an enraged Eleven used her powers to smash one guard into a wall and to break the other's neck before they could close the door. While she sobbed at her experiences, Brenner comfortingly carried her away, pleased that Eleven was indeed capable of biokinesis. [3]

Brenner wanted to test Eleven's ability to eavesdrop over long distances. Eleven was ordered to repeat words stated by an individual elsewhere in the laboratory. She did not repeat the words through her voice but instead made the individual's words play over a wall speaker.[4]

The Flea and the Acrobat S01-E05 SS 001

Eleven eavesdropping on a Russian spy before first encountering the Monster.

1983

Making contact

Eventually, Brenner wanted Eleven to eavesdrop over an even greater distance. She was placed in a sensory deprivation tank, where she entered a psychic state in which she could reach out to other living creatures in different locations. In this state, she was ordered to spy on a Russian agent. Although Eleven successfully followed this instruction, she unwittingly came across a mysterious creature. A terrified Eleven panicked, and the experiment was aborted.[5]

Dr. Brenner was intrigued and wanted her to make contact with the creature. The experiment was repeated; Eleven entered the tank once again. Immersed in the psychic state, Eleven made contact with the monster. At that moment, a gate cracked open between Hawkins Laboratory and the monster's dimension — allowing it to enter their dimension. In the ensuing chaos, Eleven escaped the lab through a drain pipe and fled into the surrounding woodlands of Hawkins.

On the run

Walking through the woods, Eleven came across Benny Hammond's diner and attempted to steal food, but Benny caught her and prevented her escape. He clothed, fed, and attempted to communicate with her. She was reserved and did not say much but eventually revealed that her name was Eleven. Thinking she was a victim of child abuse, Benny called social services. Agent Connie Frazier from Hawkins Lab arrived, posing as a social worker, and immediately shot Benny. Eleven fled the diner, killing two other agents in the process.[6]
Stranger Things 1x01 – Eleven in the Rain

Eleven found in the forest by Mike, Dustin and Lucas

Later that night, Eleven was found drenched in rain in the forest by Mike Wheeler, Lucas Sinclair, and Dustin Henderson as they searched for their missing friend Will Byers.[6] They brought her back to Mike's basement, where they argued about what to do with her. Lucas and Dustin were cautious and wanted to call the police, but Mike decided against it, instead creating a plan: he would have her ring the doorbell the next morning so his mother could call the right people to help her. After building her a pillow fort to sleep in, Mike and Eleven introduced themselves to each other, Mike giving her the nickname "El."

The next day, Mike brought Eleven her breakfast and tried to get her to go along with his plan, but she refused and
Ep2-Mike and El4

Mike accommodated Eleven to his house

told him that "bad" people were looking for her. During a tour of the house, she recognized Will in a photograph. However, before Mike could ask her any more questions, his mother came home. He then urged her to hide in his closet so she would not be found. When she hesitated, he explained to her what a promise was and promised he would not tell his mother about her. While confined in the closet, Eleven remembered an occasion where she was locked in a dark room at the lab. Dustin and Lucas came to Mike's house after school, and Mike told them Eleven could help them find Will. Lucas was still insistent on telling their parents, but Eleven stopped him by shutting the door using her powers, which had not been revealed until that moment.
Stranger Things 1x02 – Eleven explaining the Upside Down

Eleven explains Will's hiding place.

Later that evening, the boys brought Eleven food, apologizing to her and revealed that they were desperate to find their friend Will. While Eleven was unfamiliar with the concept of "friend", Mike explained it to her. To demonstrate where Will was hiding, she flipped over their Dungeons & Dragons board to demonstrate that he was in an "upside down" dimension. She placed Will's player piece on top and the Demogorgon piece next to it, which symbolized the monster.[7]

The next day, the boys decided to let Eleven guide them to Will after school. Before leaving, Mike provided El his watch and asked her to meet them at 3:15pm. Eleven was alone at Mike's house and came across a Coca-Cola commercial on his television, reminding her of the experiment involving the cola can. Later, Eleven arrived and waited for Mike and his friends to appear, before witnessing a cat growling, which reminded her of another experiment where Brenner tried to force her to kill a cat. The boys came home from school as Mike lapsed El out and they commenced "Operation Mirkwood," where Eleven led them through the woods to find evidence relating to Will. She led them to the Byers house but was unable to explain that Will was there but in the other dimension. Police cars raced by, and the group followed them to the quarry, where they saw what appeared to be Will's corpse being dragged out of the water. Feeling hurt and betrayed, believing Eleven to be a liar, Mike lashed out at her and raced home on his bike.[3]

Returning to Mike's basement, Eleven proved that she was not lying about Will, projecting his voice through Mike's radio, and he was heard faintly singing one of his favorite songs. The following day, Mike showed El doing this to Dustin and Lucas, who wondered if Will had become a ghost. After further discussion, the boys decided to take El to school so that she could use Mr. Clarke's Heathkit to make further contact.

The Body S01-E04 SS 001

Eleven connects with Will

They disguised Eleven in a blonde wig and pink dress borrowed from Nancy's room and brought her to Hawkins Middle. They were stopped by Mr. Clarke, who made them attend an assembly for Will. After the assembly, Mike confronted the bully Troy regarding the jokes he made about Will during the assembly. Troy attempted to hit Mike, but Eleven froze him in place using her powers and made him urinate down his pants in front of several other students. Later, they used the Heathkit radio and heard Will talking to his mother from the Upside Down. Unfortunately, the radio eventually caught fire. After they returned to Mike's basement, the boys theorized that Will was stuck in the Vale of Shadows, a "dark echo" dimension of death and decay, which Eleven labeled the Upside Down.[4]

The Flea and the Acrobat S01-E05 SS 003

Lucas is knocked down

After talking to Mr. Clarke at Will's funeral, the boys decided to follow their compasses, believing they could be guided to a hypothetical gate to the other dimension; This was assuming that the gate would affect the local magnetic field. However, Eleven manipulated their compasses to keep them away from Hawkins Lab. When the boys realized this, Lucas accused her of sabotaging the mission, which Mike refused to believe. A fight erupted between the two, and Eleven, in an outbreak of emotion, flung Lucas into the air using her powers, knocking him out. Mike screamed, "What is wrong with you?" at Eleven, and she fled the scene, overwhelmed with emotion.[5]

In the woods, Eleven took off her wig and despaired as she looked at her reflection in a pool of water, angrily sending ripples across the water with her powers. She later entered a supermarket to steal boxes of Eggos, which she had developed a great fondness for. An employee attempted to stop her thievery, but she walked out and broke the sliding glass doors using her powers.

Stranger Things 1x06 – Eleven to the Rescue

Eleven comes to Mike and Dustin's rescue.

As Eleven sat alone in the forest with her Eggo boxes, she faintly heard Mike and Dustin shouting her name as they searched for her. The two boys were suddenly ambushed by Troy and his friend James who were seeking revenge following Troy's humiliation in the gym. They threatened Dustin with a knife and forced Mike into taking a fatal plunge off a cliff into the water below. Eleven appeared just in time, levitating Mike back to safety, pushing James to the ground and breaking Troy's arm. Upon waking from her over-exertion, she reconciled with Mike and Dustin as they embraced each other, before returning to Mike's home.[1]

Mike and Eleven shared an intimate moment in his basement before Dustin interrupted to alert them that Lucas was communicating via radio, warning them that the "bad men are coming." The three escaped on bike while agents from Hawkins Lab pursued them. Eleven used her powers to flip one of their vans over, and they made a narrow escape. The kids went to a junkyard, where Lucas and Eleven apologized to one another. After realizing that agents were still searching for them, they shoved their bikes under an abandoned bus and hid inside.

The Bathtub S01-E07 SS 001

Eleven in the bathtub

Chief Hopper, who now knew of Eleven's existence, communicated with the group through Will's radio and came to escort them to the Byers house, where they met with Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy. Eleven tried communicating with Will and Barbara Holland through one of the boys' radios to no avail, but she suggested they could use a "bath" instead. The group broke into Hawkins Middle School and set up a kiddie pool filled with saltwater to serve as a makeshift sensory deprivation tank. Joyce commended Eleven for her bravery, ensuring she would be there for her while she looked for Will and Barb. Eleven got into the pool and began to float, entering her mental void. Eleven first found Barbara's corpse, and in response, Eleven hysterically and repeatedly shouted, "Gone!". Joyce comforted her, calming her down. She eventually found Will alive but weakened hiding in Castle Byers. Eleven told him to stay strong and ensured him his mother was coming for him. Will responded telling Eleven to hurry before she suddenly lost contact.[8]
Ep8-Eleven and Mike2

Mike reveals his feelings for her.

The kids were left alone in the school while Joyce and Hopper went to the lab and Nancy and Jonathan went to the Byers house. Mike and Eleven shared another intimate moment where Mike calmed her, telling that they will be like a family after everything's over, and also invited Eleven to be his date at the Snow Ball school dance, and the two shared a kiss.

As part of an "agreement" he made with the laboratory to save Will, Hopper revealed Eleven's location. Agents arrived at the school to capture her, but Eleven killed most of them by crushing their brains, an exhaustive process which drained her of energy and caused her to briefly collapse.

Dr. Brenner and his team of agents and military police found Eleven and the boys. As the boys were restrained and held back by military police, Brenner talked to Eleven, telling her that she would be returned to the lab. However, Eleven resisted, calling and reaching out for Mike.
The Upside Down S01-E08 SS 001

Eleven's sacrifice

The Monster was attracted to the pools of blood, breaking through the wall. The Monster began a spree of violence, attacking Dr. Brenner as military police let go of the boys and opened gunfire. This allowed the kids to escape with Dustin carrying Eleven.

For a while, the four kids outran and evaded the creature, hiding in Mr. Clarke's classroom. Mike tried to calm Eleven, who became highly exhausted after using her powers, and told her not to worry as everything was going to be okay and then they will go to the Snowball. Eventually, the Monster found them, breaking into the room and attacking them. The boys attempted to fight it with Lucas's wrist rocket, but it had little effect on the monster. Though she was drained, Eleven decided to confront the creature, pinning it against the blackboard with her mind while also immobilizing Mike to prevent his intervention and protect him and his friends. After wishing goodbye to Mike, she proceeded to disintegrate the creature's body, vanishing to the Upside Down in the process.

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Eleven uses her psychic powers to open the portal.

When Eleven awoke, she was frightened and scared and stumbled down the hallways of the Middle School looking for Mike. Eventually, she found the portal that the Demogorgon had created when it had entered the school. When the agents were gone, Eleven, using her abilities, made the portal large enough for her to crawl through and reach the real world.

1983 - 1984

Living at the Hopper cabin

Once she was back in the regular world, Eleven found her way to the Wheeler residence. She saw Mike being
Eleven emerging to visit Mike at his house

Eleven gets emotional watching Mike before she's forced to hide

interrogated by the police through a window, catching his attention and making the officers suspect she was nearby. As they began searching for her, she was forced to flee and hide in the woods. For a month, she hid in the woods, killing animals for sustenance. Upon being discovered by a hunter, she knocked him out cold with a cooked squirrel and stole his jacket for warmth. In December, Eleven discovered a box filled with leftovers and Eggos.

Upon discovering that Hopper was the one who had left the food, Eleven confronted him. He then took her to a cabin in the woods that would serve as their new home. Together, they cleaned the cabin and rigged nearby trees with trip wire to alert them of any intruders. In order for them to communicate safely, Hopper taught Eleven how to read and signal Morse code. Hopper created a set of rules for Eleven's safety, requiring her to always have the curtains drawn, to always have the door locked, and to never leave the cabin.

1984

Growing impatient

On October 30, 1984, when Hopper arrived at the cabin, Eleven was irritated that he had not signaled he would be late. The two then ate dinner together.

The next morning, Eleven tried to convince Hopper to let her go trick-or-treating, arguing that she wouldn't be seen by
Eleven in a ghost costume

Eleven wanted to go for trick-or-treating.

the bad men because of her ghost costume. Hopper refused, as it would have been too big of a risk. He then came up with a compromise, telling her he would get off work early and they'd watch a scary movie together. While not completely happy with the compromise, Eleven agreed to it.

Later that day, Eleven was flipping through television channels when she heard a sound coming from outside. Looking out the window, she saw a squirrel, triggering a flashback to the moment where she had attacked and rendered the hunter unconscious.

That night, as Eleven watched a movie alone, Hopper signaled that he was going to be late again. This angered
Eleven tries to reach out Mike on the 352nd day through the Void but fails

Eleven attempts to reach out Mike but fails

Eleven, and when Hopper finally arrived at the cabin, she refused to come out of her room. Using the white noise from the television and a blindfold, she entered her mental void to visit Mike. Mike was sitting in the blanket fort he had built for her the year before, trying to contact her and revealing that he tried contacting her for 353 days in a row. But, just as she was going to make contact, Mike left. Eleven began to weep as she failed to contact Mike.

The following morning, Hopper managed to convince her to come out of her room. At breakfast, Eleven asked Hopper when she would be able to see Mike again. Hopper tried to placate her by saying she'd be able to see him “soon,” but Eleven's patience had reached its limit. She lashed out at Hopper and stormed away to her room, slamming the door.

Later that day, Eleven decided to leave the cabin in order to visit Mike, disobeying Hopper's rules. While walking in the forest, she came across a woman pushing her child on a swing; this made her remember an occasion when she had asked Hopper where her own mother was, to which Hopper had responded she “was not around anymore.” Eleven is snapped back to her senses by the woman asking where her parents were. Instead of answering, Eleven asked the woman where the school was located before using her powers to manipulate the swing, frightening the mother and child while distracting them long enough for her to slip away.

Once at the school, Eleven began searching the hallways for Mike. She eventually found him in the gym with Max, watching them through a window. Jealous, Eleven used her abilities to pull Max's skateboard, causing her to fall. After witnessing Mike grab Max's hand in order to help her up, Eleven left the school and went back to the cabin.

When she arrived at the cabin, Eleven discovered Hopper waiting for her. The two got into an argument, with Hopper grounding her and revoking her television privileges. However, Eleven held the television in place with her powers, resulting in Hopper destroying the device's cord. Furious, Eleven told Hopper she hated him and went to her room. As Hopper tried to convince her to open the door, she had a psychic tantrum, breaking all of the cabin's windows.

Discovering her past

Before leaving for work the following morning, Hopper told Eleven he'd consider fixing the television if she cleaned up the mess she had made the night before. As she was sweeping, Eleven discovered a hidden storage compartment beneath the floorboards. There, she found a box containing documents from Hawkins Lab. Looking through the files, she discovered the existence of her mother, Terry Ives. She located Terry, who was able to recognize Eleven as her missing daughter, Jane. Just as Eleven tried to reach out to Terry, she vanished.

Eleven hitchhiked to the Ives residence where she was initially dismissed by her aunt, Becky. Only after Eleven had
Eleven to meet Terry Ives

Eleven arrives at Ives's residence

used her powers to unlock the door and demanded to see her mother did Becky allow her in. Eleven tried to talk to Terry, but she received no response. Instead, Terry stared blankly at the television, repeating a sequence of words and phrases: Breathe, sunflower, rainbow, three to the right, four to the left, and 450.

As Becky showed Eleven the room Terry had kept for her, the light in the hallway began to flicker. Following the flickering lights to the living room, Eleven realized it was Terry trying to speak to her. In her mental void, Eleven saw several of Terry's memories, the first being the day Terry had gone into labor ("Breathe", as told by the doctors) and subsequently waking up to learn her daughter had been taken (with a vase of "sunflowers" on the side table). In the second memory, she witnessed Terry retrieve a gun from a safe (with a combination of "3 to the right, 4 to the left"), and proceed to break into the lab. Terry eventually found Jane in the “rainbow room” along with another young girl, but was captured soon after. In the final memory, Brenner instructed one of his workers to give Terry "450" volts of electricity to the head, causing significant brain damage.

Pieces of the memories then began to play on a loop (which Eleven dubbed a “dream circle”), matching the sequence of words that Terry had been repeating. Because the dream circle kept focusing on the girl in the rainbow room, Eleven believed Terry wanted her to find the girl. Looking through Terry's files of missing children, she recognized the girl, named Kali, in a newspaper article. Eleven attempted to locate Kali twice, succeeding on her second attempt. As she was going to tell Becky, Eleven overheard her on the phone with Florence over at the Hawkins Police Station. After stealing money from Becky's purse, she boarded a bus to Chicago.

When she arrived in Chicago, Eleven managed to track Kali to an abandoned warehouse. After showing each other their tattoos, the two recognized each other as sisters. The next day, Kali instructed Eleven on how to better control her powers, asking her to move a railroad car. When Eleven was unsuccessful, Kali suggested channeling her anger and pain in order to make her powers stronger. Using Kali's advice, Eleven succeeded in moving the railroad car.

Bringing her to a room with several images of their targets tacked on a wall, Kali asked Eleven if she recognized any of them. She recognized one, a now retired scientist named Ray Carroll, as the person who had electrocuted her mother at the lab. After giving Eleven a punk makeover, the gang set out to pursue Ray. Before heading to their destination, the gang stopped at a convenience store for supplies. As the store employee was distracted by one of Kali's illusions, Eleven and the gang began stealing from the store. The employee soon found out, and threatened the gang with a gun. When Kali was unsuccessful in convincing him to let them go, Eleven slammed him against the wall, knocking him unconscious and allowing the gang to get away.
The Brenner Illusion

Kali's illusionary Brenner appears before Eleven

Arriving at Ray's residence, Eleven, Kali, and the gang broke in and began threatening him. Ray tried to barter for his life, saying he could bring them to Brenner. Not believing him, Eleven began to strangle him with her powers. As he was being dragged across the floor, Eleven noticed a picture of Ray and his children. Feeling guilt, Eleven could no longer go through with killing Ray and showed him mercy. When Kali pulled out a gun and attempted to kill Ray herself, Eleven used her powers to throw the gun out of her hand. As the police arrived, they quickly fled.

Back at the warehouse, Kali told Eleven that she had a choice to make: to either go back into hiding, or to fight and face Brenner again. When Eleven insisted that Brenner was dead, Kali made one of her illusions appear before her in the form of Brenner. The illusion urged her to confront her pain, otherwise it would spread and kill her.

Void

Eleven sees Hopper and Mike who are in danger through the Void

As police began to surround the warehouse, Eleven became emotional reminiscing Mike and Hopper, and used her abilities to locate Hopper, who was overseeing an expedition into the subterranean tunnel system beneath Hawkins. While observing him, Eleven suddenly saw Mike, desperately trying to warn Hopper of the Mind Flayer's trap. Eleven tried to reach Mike but failed as the police broke through the warehouse. When Kali and the gang prepared to flee in their van, Eleven refused to go with them and reminded that her friends were in danger and she could save them. Resolving to save her friends, Eleven left the gang and boarded a bus to Hawkins.

Returning to Hawkins

Stranger-Things-Season-2-Episode-8-Chapter-Eight-The-Mind-Flayer-Eleven

To everyone's surprise, Eleven arrives and kills the Demodogs.

As the Byers' house was being attacked by a pack of demodogs, Eleven surprisingly arrived and eradicated them, tossing one through a window. She became amazed to see Mike and had an emotional reuniton with him and the rest of her friends. Together, the group created a plan on how to defeat the Mind Flayer: Joyce, Jonathan, and Nancy would attempt to exorcise the Mind Flayer from Will while Eleven and Hopper would return to the lab and close the Gate. Before returning, Eleven promised Mike that he would not lose her again. In order to buy time for everyone, Mike and the others would also create a distraction in the tunnels beneath Hawkins.

While reaching the lab, Eleven revealed that she visited her mother, though she admitted she shouldn't have left. In return, Hopper apologized to Eleven and told her that it was his fault and that he was sorry for everything, as he thought he would have lost Eleven just like he'd lost his daughter. They both forgave themselves as they held their hands.

Eleven and Hopper surprised to see Demodogs swarming the lab

At the lab, Eleven and Hopper came across many dead bodies and ultimately found Dr. Owens, wounded but still alive. Hopper patched him and revealed that he had been keeping Eleven for a year and convinced him to help her live a happy, normal life. Finally arriving at the Gate, they were surprised to see the Demodogs fleeing from the Gate's entrance and received the signal from Jonathan to destroy it.

After being lowered down to the Gate's underground entrance, Eleven held Hopper's hands in fear but after he assured her, she began closing the Gate while Hopper provided covering fire. Now aware of her presence, the Mind Flayer attempted to stop her by sending the demodogs after her, as well as attacking her directly. By channeling her anger, as Kali had taught her, Eleven became powerful enough that she overcame the Mind Flayer's attacks and was able to close the Gate, killing the remaining Demodogs in the process. As Eleven grew exhausted using her powers, Hopper embraced and commended her for her bravery as they both returned.

A month later, Hopper met with Dr. Owens. Hopper received a forged birth certificate with the name “Jane Hopper”, indicating he had taken her in as an adopted daughter. Though, Dr. Owens advised him that Eleven should still lie low for another year to ensure their safety, Hopper managed to convince Owens to give Eleven a night out to attend the Snow Ball with her friends.
Snowball Mike and Eleven dance and kiss

Eleven and Mike dance at the Snow Ball.

On December 15, Eleven attended the Snow Ball school dance along with Mike and their friends. After they reunited again, Mike stated that she looked beautiful and asked for a dance. She agreed and they danced together to the song “Every Breath You Take” and shared a kiss.

Personality and Traits

Raised in Hawkins National Laboratory and completely deprived of socialization, Eleven was timid, socially withdrawn and extremely cautious of other people. However, she became fiercely protective and showed unyielding loyalty towards those who cared for her, especially to Mike who she fell in love with, to the point of sacrificing herself to destroy the Monster when it threatened to harm her friends. Even after a year of separation, she showed considerable determination in saving her friends by returning to them in Hawkins from Chicago, when she sensed them to be in grave danger through the Void.

If Eleven attempted to defy Dr. Brenner's orders when under his control, she would be locked in a cramped room as punishment, potentially for hours on end. These painful experiences lead her to develop severe claustrophobia. She also showed some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, frequently remembering her harrowing experiences at the lab following her escape.

Due to a very limited vocabulary, she could not effectively communicate her thoughts and emotions and had little to no understanding of simple concepts such as friendships or promises. These difficulties communicating often lead to misunderstandings with her friends. Despite this, she was a quick learner and came up with creative ways of explaining concepts as shown when she flipped the Dungeons & Dragons game board to explain the nature of the Upside Down.

Episodes of intense stress and fear had the potential to trigger Eleven's powers, releasing them in unpredictable and sometimes dangerous ways. She was reluctant to harm innocent life and had no malicious intent but was sometimes forced to maim or kill in extreme circumstances. She did not take this lightly as these instances were always followed by strong feelings of guilt and self-loathing (not to mention the physical toll these acts had on her body). Despite having killed before, upon being pressured by Kali into trying to kill, she refused to after seeing the man she was about to kill had children and then stopped Kali from shooting him. In every event of having to resort to killing someone, she has done it in self defense.

After nearly an entire year of living with Hopper, Eleven's vocabulary expanded significantly, although she still struggled to understand complex words and social cues.

Powers and Abilities

Psychic abilities

Eleven was born with a vast array of preternatural abilities, acquired through a combination of inheritance and exposure to hallucinogenic drugs while in utero during her mother’s time as an MKUltra test subject. These abilities were the reason she was abducted at birth and raised at Hawkins National Laboratory, where she was experimented on.

The effect of the subsequent direct experimentation on Eleven and her powers is unclear. It is possible that her powers laid dormant and could only be unearthed through further experimentation. However, it is also possible that Eleven had access to these powers at birth, but merely gained understanding and experience of them during her time in the laboratory. As her mother displays similar psychic powers, it is possible she simply inherited stronger abilities.

Initially, exercising her abilities to accomplish small tasks was shown to be rather difficult for her. However, with practice, Eleven was able to accomplish greater and greater feats. Nearly a year after the events of November 1983, Eleven became able to use her telekinetic and telepathic powers far more easily and without as much effort and concentration, easily closing doors, lifting objects, and entering her mental void by simply placing a blindfold on.

Her abilities are somewhat linked to her emotional state, being at their strongest when influenced by her anger and fear. Being in distressing situations would occasionally cause Eleven to unleash her powers involuntarily. This was most likely how Eleven had opened the Gate: her fear of witnessing the Demogorgon possibly magnifying her powers to the point where she was able to open an interdimensional portal. This was also observed in “The Flea and the Acrobat” when she unintentionally flung Lucas across the junkyard during his fight with Mike. In “Will the Wise”, following an intense argument with Hopper, Eleven had a “psychic tantrum”, causing her to violently break all of the cabin’s windows. With help from Kali, Eleven learned to harness her anger at will, allowing better control over her powers. She would go on to use this knowledge to aid her while closing the Gate.

Using her powers takes a physical toll on her body. When using her powers to perform more menial tasks, Eleven usually only suffers nosebleeds. Based on how her powers are executed, it is likely the source of this blood is actually her brain. When accomplishing more daunting tasks, however, she would become physically exhausted, often to the point where she’d be unable to walk. Her most extreme acts caused bruising on her face, her eyes to become bloodshot, her ears to bleed, and occasionally even unconsciousness. However, if Eleven was sufficiently satiated, this physical toll could be alleviated. Eventually, Eleven’s body had grown accustomed to recurrent use of her powers, being able to go longer durations without succumbing to complete exhaustion.

Eleven's powers would occasionally affect the nearby electricity; when attempting psychic communication, nearby lights would sometimes flicker or even go out entirely. The Demogorgon, while traveling between dimensions, had remarkably similar effects on nearby electricity, suggesting her abilities may also cause distortion of the electromagnetic field.

StrangerThingsBus

Eleven flinging a large van in the air.

  • Telekinesis: Her most recurrent power, she is able to manipulate objects and people with her mind. When amplified by her emotions, her telekinesis is strong enough to lift large and heavy objects; she flipped a Hawkins Power and Light van in the air in “The Bathtub”, and in “The Lost Sister” she was able to channel her anger in order to pull a train car towards her.
    • Levitation: Via telekinesis, Eleven could suspend objects in the air, making them levitate. This was first displayed in “Holly, Jolly” where she made Mike’s model of the Millennium Falcon float. This ability is not restricted to objects, as shown in “The Monster” when she saved Mike by levitating him to safety after he had jumped off a cliff. In “The Gate”, Eleven herself levitated as she was closing the Gate, possibly as a side effect of her using so much power.
  • Extrasensory Perception (ESP): Eleven can gain information through the mind rather than the physical senses. She could recognize people taken into the Upside Down from photos, though she had presumably never met them before, and could sense Will's corresponding location in the other dimension.
    Stranger Things 1x06-Eleven's mental void

    Eleven in the void of her mind, using sensory deprivation.

    • Remote viewing: Via ESP, she can seek out and find targets in different locations than her own. When amplified by sensory deprivation, this ability is powerful enough to find targets over vast distances, even as far as other dimensions.
    • Telepathy: Often used in tandem with her RV abilities. When she has located her target, she can choose to communicate with them mentally.
    • Psychometry: Or “token-object reading”, Eleven can gain information about a person by touching objects associated with them. In “The Weirdo on Maple Street”, she was able to correctly identify which game piece was Will's when demonstrating with the D&D board.
  • Technopathy: To some extent and with varying results, she can transmit the voices of people and other sounds in other locations over electronic speakers.
  • Biokinesis: Eleven can manipulate living creatures. She first demonstrated this when breaking the neck of a Hawkins Lab guard. She would go on to force Troy to urinate against his will and later to break his arm. During a confrontation at Hawkins Middle School, she killed several agents by applying pressure to their brains, causing them to bleed from their eyes. Her most extreme act of biokinesis was disintegrating the Demogorgon.
  • Portal Manipulation: Eleven can open and manipulate portals to the Upside Down. She was first revealed to have this power in “The Monster”, where it was shown that she had accidentally opened the Gate upon making contact with the Demogorgon. Eleven later manages to close the Gate in “The Gate”. In “Trick or Treat, Freak”, she manipulated a portal that the Demogorgon had opened in order to make it large enough for her to pass through.
    • Dimensional Travel: After the Gate was opened, it allowed Hawkins Lab scientists to go into the Upside Down. She herself entered the dimension after defeating the Demogorgon in “The Upside Down.”
  • Emotion Empowerment: By channeling her anger, she is able to intensify the effects of her powers.
  • Teleportation: Eleven appears to have the ability to teleport, as shown when she was somehow teleported to the Upside Down upon defeating the Demogorgon. In Stranger Things: The Game, her special ability allows her to teleport between “baths” (kiddie pools) as a mode of fast travel.

Regular abilities

  • Survival skills: While living in the woods for a month, Eleven learned crucial survival skills, such as hunting (by using her powers) and how to make a fire.
  • Morse code: She was taught how to read and signal Morse code by Hopper as a means for them to safely communicate.

Relationships

While Terry is her biological mother, Eleven originally had no knowledge of her or even the fact that Brenner had kidnapped her at birth. However, Terry tried desperately to get her daughter back and still believed she would one day return. After learning that her mother was alive through the Void, Eleven defied Hopper's rules to meet her.

Becky is Eleven's aunt. Like Terry, Eleven had no knowledge of her due to not knowing the circumstances of her birth. Becky believed Terry really miscarried and in extension believed that Jane did not exist.

Chief Hopper was an ally of Eleven and later became her adoptive father. He rescued her and her friends from government agents, safely bringing them to the Byers house to meet with the others. Their relationship likely had little opportunity to develop at this time as they were preoccupied with saving Will. Hopper ultimately had to reveal Eleven's location to Hawkins Lab in order to save Will, a decision he did not take lightly. Hopper appeared to have some awareness of Eleven's status following her self-sacrifice, providing her with Eggo waffles on Christmas Eve. Eleven's disappearance reminded Hopper of the loss of his daughter, and he became determined to find her.

Hopper eventually found Eleven in the woods and began taking care of her, relocating her to his grandfather's old cabin. The two developed a complicated father-daughter dynamic as they lived together for almost a year. For her safety, Hopper neither permitted her leaving the cabin, nor did he permit her to communicate with Mike or her friends.

After the shutdown of Hawkins Lab, Hopper officially took Eleven in as his adopted daughter and allowed her to attend the Snow Ball.

Eleven's history with Dr. Martin Brenner runs deep: not only did he define her childhood, but he was potentially responsible for her very existence. Brenner had experimented on her mother Terry, who had volunteered to become a MKUltra test subject. While undergoing these tests, Terry mysteriously became pregnant. After discovering the pregnancy, Brenner took the child away directly from birth, raising her at Hawkins Lab.

Throughout childhood, Eleven was treated harshly and severely. Brenner appeared to be Eleven's only source of social engagement, and thus she grew to be dependent on his attention. Brenner built himself up as a father figure, establishing a somewhat tender demeanor when in her presence. However, an unstated threat was present in even the most affectionate words he uttered, lurking just beneath the surface.

When Eleven performed well, Brenner would "reward" her with affection. When Eleven disobeyed him, she would instead be subjected to cruel psychological torture. Even when Eleven was on her best behavior, she spent much of her time in solitary confinement, locked in a "bedroom" cell. Brenner's only true interest in the girl was her extraordinary power; her physical or mental health was merely of tangential importance to his goal. When Eleven performed extraordinary feats, Brenner appeared proud of her accomplishments.

After Eleven escaped from the lab and experienced genuinely loving relationships for the first time, she could finally see through Brenner's façade. When he eventually found her and promised to take her home, she rejected his offer, instead crying and reaching out to her new friends.

Mike and Eleven developed a special relationship in the six days they knew each other, as they quickly fell in love with each other. Out of the three boys who found her, Mike grew the closest to Eleven, partly due to her staying at his house. Although Dustin and Lucas eventually developed trust for her, Mike was the first to do so. Eleven, in turn, was clearly at her most relaxed while alone in the company of Mike. Unlike Dustin and Lucas, Mike understood right away that, despite her powers and strange appearance, she was ultimately just another kid and did not mean to cause trouble for him and his friends. His respect for her deepened when she aided and defended him and his friends in the search for Will.

Mike even invited her to be his date to the Snow Ball, an offer which she happily accepted and kissed her. Due to her love for Mike, to protect him and their friends, Eleven used all her powers to disintegrate the Demogorgon and vanished to the Upside Down. Mike became devastated at this and called her on his Supercom for 353 days in a row as well as keeping the pillow fort in perfect condition in regards to her memory, unaware that Eleven was actually alive and also trying to contact him through the Void.

After almost a year, when they finally reunited they shared a long awaited hug just to be separated again. Mike tells Eleven that he “can’t lose her” to which she promises he will not. Eleven leans in to kiss Mike but is interrupted by Hopper calling her name. Afterwards, Eleven and Mike attended the Snow Ball where they shared their second known kiss as they danced to the song “Every Breath You Take”.

Lucas was initially suspicious of Eleven, dismissing her as a "psycho". Although Dustin and Mike made efforts to become friendlier, Lucas kept some distance from her, viewing her as a distraction from the search for Will. Eleven, lacking social skills and confidence, was unable to convince him that she was truly on their side. When Eleven was discovered to be manipulating the boys while they searched for the Gate, Lucas grew angry, accusing her of being traitorous. After Eleven ran away, Lucas had little interest in finding her. However, after Lucas realized that she was justified to keep the boys away from the dangerous forces at Hawkins Lab, his opinion of her changed. Following the kids' reunion, Eleven and Lucas apologized to one another and remained friendly.

Dustin's initial attitude toward Eleven lay somewhere between Mike's open-mindedness and Lucas's skepticism. He became considerably kinder to her after discovering she had “superpowers”, although he retained a degree of indifference towards her. After an incident with Lucas, he was quick to call her out on a questionable use of her power, though he later admitted that it was “awesome.” While it is unclear if he saw her as a member of their “party” at that point, he did assist Mike in looking for Eleven after she had ran away. After Eleven saved him and Mike from bullies, he proudly declared that she was their friend and thoroughly cared about her from that point on.

Joyce became very protective of Eleven in the short time they knew each other. Unlike Brenner, who largely treated the girl as if she were a soldier, Joyce respected that she was only a child, treating her in a somewhat motherly fashion; this was likely the first relationship of that kind that Eleven had experienced. Joyce reminded her that she was very brave, thanking her for all her help in the search for her son.

Though Eleven and Will Byers were never formally introduced to one another when he was taken to the Upside Down, they could definitely have been considered allies. Eleven was more than willing to help Will's friends and family find him, which they were all deeply thankful for, especially Joyce. Eleven's only direct interaction with Will took place while she was immersed in her mental void; she found him in Castle Byers, comforting him and telling him to "hold on a little longer" while Joyce and Hopper searched for him.

Although Max seemed to admire Eleven and was willing to become her friend, Eleven was cold towards her and appeared to be jealous of her after mistaking her hanging out with Mike as something romantic.

Benny was the first person Eleven encountered after escaping the lab. During their short time together, Benny treated her kindly and cared about her well being, a stark contrast to her treatment at the lab. Fearing that she was a victim of abuse, he called Social Services hoping to help her. Unfortunately, this good deed would lead to his death at the hands of DOE agent Connie Frazier. Eleven later killed Connie and other agents in order to defend herself and her friends; whether intentional or not, she avenged Benny with this action.

Troy and James

When Eleven saw Troy and James bullying her friends, she instantly disliked them. After Mike stood up to Troy for insulting Will, she used her powers to make Troy urinate in front of his classmates, humiliating him. When Troy sought revenge and threatened to hurt Mike and Dustin, she used her abilities once again to push James to the ground and break one of Troy's arms. The two boys fled in terror. Although they clearly did not like Eleven, they had gained a newfound respect for - and fear of - her and her friends.

Appearances

Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down
Season Two appearances
MADMAX Trick or Treat Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate

Family tree

Biological

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon
Jane's father
 
Terry Ives Family Tree icon 001
Teresa Ives
 
 
Becky Ives Family Tree icon 001
Becky Ives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jane Ives Family Tree icon 001
Jane Ives
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Adoptive

Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon
Bill
 
 
 
Diane Family Tree icon 001
Diane
 
 
 
Jim Hopper Family Tree Icon 001
Jim Hopper
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Unseen and Unnamed Character Family Tree icon
Diane's second child
 
 
 
Sara Hopper Family Tree icon 001
Sara Hopper
Deceased
 
 
 
 
 
Jane Ives Family Tree icon 001

Jane Ives

Jim's Adopted Daughter

Memorable Quotes

  • "Papa?"
  • "Friends don't lie."
  • "Mouthbreather."
  • "Goodbye, Mike."
  • "Promise?"
  • "Pretty."
  • "Bad."
  • "What's 'putting'?"
  • "Still pretty?"
  • "Night, Mike."
  • "I understand."
  • "The Gate... I opened it. I'm the monster."
  • "No more."
  • "You are like Papa!"
  • "Bitchin'."
  • "A black hole?"
  • "Compromise?"
  • "Mike?...Mike?...Mike!..Mike!"
  • "For three hundred and fifty three days......I heard."

Behind the Scenes

The initial basis for Eleven's character was formed when the Duffers imagining an escaped MKUltra test subject, heavily influenced by E.T. [9]However, they also wanted to keep an underlying sense of danger and instability, saying that "Eleven isn’t a normal girl, and she’s no gentle plant-collecting alien either. She has unpredictable supernatural powers that will most definitely put our boys in jeopardy." As a result, they also incorporated elements from the anime Elfen Lied as well as the 1988 anime film Akira into her character, though with “less bloodshed.”[10] It's also possible Eleven was based on characters from the works of Stephen King, such as Carrie White from Carrie and Charlie McGee from Firestarter, although the Duffers have not cited these as specific influences.

In an interview, the Duffers revealed that the show was originally going to be more “R-rated”, especially concerning Eleven's powers. Ross said, "The Eleven character, the kind of powers she has and to have a young protagonist that’s violent — it’s not E.T. It’s not a happy situation. She’s killing people, and brutally murdering them." [11]

Out of all the roles, Eleven was the most difficult to cast due to her having to convey various emotions with little dialogue. The role also required staying in character even while not talking. The Duffers feared they would not be able to find someone who could stay focused throughout an entire scene. However, when they met Millie Bobby Brown those fears vanished, and the Duffers even stated she has a "preternatural talent".[10] To help ease her worries about shaving her head, the Duffers showed Millie pictures of Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road.[12]

Trivia

  • She is extremely fond of Eggos.
  • The clothes Mike gave her to change into the first night she stayed with him are the same clothes he was wearing the day before.
  • While Eleven's age is never explicitly stated, Joyce mentioned that Terry had been looking for her daughter for twelve years, indicating she is 12 years old during the events of the first season.
  • The pink dress she wears in the first season originally belonged to Nancy.
  • The blonde wig she wore has a backstory—it originally belonged to Mike's grandmother who died of cancer.[13]
  • In "The Upside Down", she is wearing Hopper's blue plaid shirt instead of her usual windbreaker.
  • As evidenced by the drawing on her cell wall, she does know how to write, though the quality of her handwriting appears to be below average.
    Eleven-drawingHQ

    Eleven's drawing on her "bedroom" wall.

  • While living in the lab, she owned a plush lion identical to the one Will had in Castle Byers. Both are similar to a stuffed animal that was owned by Sara Hopper, though hers was a tiger.
  • While she watched television at the Wheelers' house, the 1983 cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe briefly appeared on-screen.
  • During a panel at Phoenix Fanfest, Millie revealed she filmed a scene in which Eleven reads Nancy's diary, which was cut for unknown reasons.[14]
  • She only speaks 246 words during the entirety of Season One.[15]
  • She has a lot in common with Alessa Gillespie, a character from the Silent Hill series, which was one of the inspirations for Stranger Things. Both have supernatural powers and have lived abusive childhoods.
  • El, her nickname, is also a Northwest Semitic word meaning God, as well as the name of a Canaanite god.[16] While this is most likely just a coincidence, it could be alluding to Eleven's role in defeating the Monster: in mythology Demogorgon is a god or demon associated with the underworld and was even adopted by Christian writers as a demon of Hell.
  • Before having a flashback, she reacts strongly to things that remind her of the lab's experiments. She appears to have one of these reactions while listening to Nancy's music box, however no flashback is shown.
    • The melody that the music box plays is Brahm's Lullaby. In the room that Terry kept for Jane, there is a baby mobile that plays the same lullaby. This has led fans to speculate that Eleven reacted the way she did because she “recognized” the melody.
    • It is possible that a flashback was originally intended to be shown but was removed, similar to the diary scene. Another possibility is that her reaction was simply one of surprise, since she most likely had never seen a music box before.
  • The Void, the mental space she travels to while submerged in an isolation tank, was visually inspired by the 2013 film Under the Skin.[17]
  • There is a visual mistake in the scene where she splashes her reflection. When she looks at herself in the water, her reflection isn't flipped like it should be.
  • Her reference to the scientist who raised her as 'Papa' is directly reminiscent of Elfen Lied's secondary powered character, the Diclonius Nana, whose name in Japanese also means 'Seven'. Unlike Eleven, Nana's relationship with her 'Papa', Doctor Kurama , is much more tender.
  • Prior to Season 2, it was unknown whether Eleven's powers were inherited or not. However, in "The Lost Sister", her mother, Terry Ives, is shown using similar powers to tell Eleven about Kali and her past.
  • Her role in her friends' "party," as assigned by Mike, is a mage.[18]
  • Out of all the characters that have been to the Upside Down, Eleven has spent the least amount of time there.
  • During the Snow Ball, Eleven can be seen wearing what appears to be a blue bracelet. Upon closer inspection, it is revealed to actually be Sara's hair tie, which up to that point had been worn by Hopper.

Gallery

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Click the above image to view the gallery for Eleven.


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Six: The Monster"
  2. "‘Stranger Things’ Finale: Duffer Brothers Talk Cliffhangers, Death and Season 2" Variety. July 18, 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Four: The Body"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat
  6. 6.0 6.1 Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers
  7. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street"
  8. Stranger Things Season 1: "Chapter Seven: The Bathtub"
  9. "‘Stranger Things’ creators explain it all about season 1" UPROXX. July 27, 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Stranger Things episode 2: The Duffer Brothers on finding their Eleven" Entertainment Weekly. July 16, 2016.
  11. "Stranger Things Was Originally Going to Be More R-rated" Vulture. January 9, 2017.
  12. Watch Stranger Things’ actress Millie Bobby Brown shave her head to become ElevenGeek. August 22, 2016.
  13. Confessions From The Set Of Stranger Things Season 2Refinery29. December 14, 2016.
  14. Stranger Things Millie Bobby Brown & David Harbour Panel Phoenix Comicon Fanfest
  15. "How many words does Eleven say in Stranger Things? One fan broke it down" RadioTimes. September 24, 2016.
  16. "El (diety) article on Wikipedia"
  17. "How 'Stranger Things' Created The Void" Inverse. August 2, 2016.
  18. Stranger Things Season 2: "The Pollywog"


The Upside Down
Locations The Upside DownThe GateHawkins National LaboratoryPublic LibraryPortalsHawkins tunnel system
Entities D'ArtagnanThe DemogorgonDemogorgon (species)Library TendrilThe Mind FlayerHawkins tunnel system
Visitors Joyce ByersWill ByersElevenBarbara HollandJim HopperShepardNancy Wheeler
Miscellaneous Upside Down eggThe Upside Down (episode)Dungeons & DragonsThe Void
Articles may contain spoilers.