|"When you capture the right moment, it says more."
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Jonathan was the first son of Lonnie and Joyce Byers. His father used to take him hunting, however, after his father made him kill a rabbit, he cried for nine days in sorrow. Eventually, his father left his family, resulting in Jonathan becoming a role model for his younger brother Will. According to Joyce, Jonathan wanted to go to New York University ever since he was six years old.
On November 6, 1983, Jonathan decided to work late to cover his co-worker Eric, thinking that he and his mother could do with the extra cash. That same night, Will mysteriously disappeared. Jonathan blamed himself for the disappearance, saying that he should've been around at home to look after him.
Jonathan went with Joyce when they looked for Will in and around Castle Byers. Jonathan made a missing poster for Will and made photocopies of it, putting them various locations around town.
Jonathan left Hawkins, driving out to Lonnie's house to search for Will. This proved to be a pointless endeavor, as Will was nowhere to be found.
Jonathan looked through and around the woodlands of Hawkins, taking photos in an attempt to find and capture evidence relating to Will. After he heard a scream, he ran to outside Steve Harrington's party, hiding in the trees. He captured many pictures of the party in motion including a shot of Nancy Wheeler in her undergarments. He unintentionally took a picture of Nancy's best friend Barbara with her feet dangling in Steve's pool whilst something strange stood behind her. Barb was abducted only seconds after, but Jonathan failed to notice, being too busy adjusting his camera.
Jonathan developed the photographs in the Hawkins High dark room. Nicole sneaked a glance at his photographs of the party, but Jonathan rushed to pull them off the dryer and bolted. Nicole told Steve and his friends about his photos, who then assaulted Jonathan and forcefully snatched his shoulder bag to see the pictures for themselves. Carol and Tommy H. mocked Jonathan by making comments about the topless photos of Nancy and calling him a stalker. Steve ripped up the photographs and dropped Jonathan's camera, breaking it. Jonathan scrambled to salvage remnants of his camera and photos. After Nancy saw Barb in the ripped photo pieces, she decided to collect as many pieces of the photo as possible before leaving with her friends.
Jonathan heard about a discovery at the local quarry, where Will's body had been found. As he drove to the quarry, he came across Joyce in the middle of the road. He got out and they embraced, sharing their grief and shock.
At the Byers household, Chief Hopper attempted to console Joyce. Joyce was struggling to cope with the news, saying Will was hiding in the wall and that an "animal" that "didn't have a face" had chased her, and that this same creature was stalking Will. Jonathan and Hopper dismissed her, believing she was being hysterical.
The next day, Jonathan and Joyce went to see the body at the coroner's, but Joyce exclaimed the body wasn't Will's and refused to sign a document. Jonathan argued with her on the street, with Jonathan accusing her of being out of her mind.
Jonathan went to a coffin shop, where Nancy found him. She asked about an inconspicuous feature of the photograph he took of Barb, which she had pieced back together. He speculated this feature could have been produced as a result of "some kind of perspective distortion", although he was unsure and admitted it was "weird". Nancy mentioned that when she went to look for Barb near Steve's house, she saw a man with no face. In that moment, Jonathan realized that maybe his mother wasn't being as delusional as he had thought. Jonathan and Nancy went to the dark room to enlarge the photo, and Nancy was certain it was the same creature she had seen earlier.
At Will's funeral, Jonathan and Nancy decided to look for the creature in the forest. Jonathan took a gun from his father's car and together they practiced shooting. In the forest, Nancy and Jonathan talked about the photos he took and ultimately ended up lashing out at each other.
After dark, they found a wounded deer. They agreed to kill it out of mercy, but before they could it was suddenly dragged away into the darkness. Following the blood trail, Nancy entered a portal in the base of a tree and found herself in The Upside Down. She saw the Monster appearing to feed on something and ran away as it gave chase. Following Jonathan's voice, Nancy made her way out of the dimension unscathed. Jonathan watched in wonder as the portal resealed.
Traumatized by the experience and wanting company, Nancy had Jonathan sleep over. The following day, she theorized about the Monster's nature based on her knowledge of animals, and they bought weapons to face it again. While downtown, they found Steve and his friends tagging slurs about Nancy. They realized that Steve had seen Jonathan in her room the previous night and tried to explain that he misunderstood. Jonathan and Steve ended up in a fist fight, which led to Jonathan's arrest and their weapons being confiscated.
Hopper and Joyce found Jonathan and Nancy at the police station and enlisted their help in trying to find Will's friends Lucas, Dustin, Mike as well as the escaped test subject Eleven. They eventually assembled at the Byers household, where they decided to build a makeshift sensory deprivation tank which Eleven could use to look for Barb and Will using her psychic abilities. The group broke into Hawkins Middle School, and Jonathan assisted Hopper in collecting de-icing salt. They learned through Eleven that although Barb had been killed, Will was still alive.
The group separated, with Jonathan and Nancy deciding to lure the Monster to the Byers household. They went to the police station, taking back their weapons, before setting up a trap at the house. The two cut themselves, drawing blood so that the Monster would be attracted. Steve came to the house to apologize to Nancy, although they were distracted by the Monster breaking through the ceiling. With Steve's aid they caught the Monster in the trap, setting it alight and maiming it. The Monster escaped into the Upside Down and would later be destroyed by Eleven.
Hopper and Joyce were successful in their attempt to find and save Will; Jonathan was the first visitor at the hospital.
One month later, on Christmas Eve, Jonathan went to the Wheeler household to pick up Will after his Dungeons & Dragons game. As they were leaving, Nancy gave Jonathan a gift from Steve and affectionately kissed him on the cheek. While Jonathan turned on his car engine, he let Will open the gift for him - it was a replacement camera. They drove home, and before their meal, Jonathan tested out the new camera, taking photos of his mother.
Jonathan is introverted, kind, independent and brave. He has a fondness towards photography and music. Despite being a small town boy, he wants to go to college at NYU. He has a strong bond with his family and is implied to have a soft spot for animals as he cried for nine days when his father forced him to kill a rabbit.
- "You shouldn't like things because people tell you you're supposed to."
- "Sometimes, people don't really say what they're really thinking. When you capture the right moment, it says more."
- "I saw this girl, you know, trying to be someone else. But for that moment it was like you were alone."
|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|