Biographical Information



London, England

Also known as

John Mandrake


Minister for Information (formerly)

Family members

Unnamed (parents)

Physical Description


Hair colour


Magical ability

Arthur Underwood (formerly)
Jessica Whitwell (formerly)

Beings summoned


Behind the scenes

The Amulet of Samarkand
The Golem's Eye
Ptolemy's Gate

Nathaniel (born in 1988, chosen name John Mandrake) is one of three main protagonists in the Bartimaeus Trilogy. He changes drastically throughout the books, going from an innocent child, to an arrogant magician, and finally to a selfless young man. In Ptolemy's Gate, Nathaniel is said to be, with the exception of Jessica Whitwell, the most powerful magician in all of London.

Appearance Edit

Nathaniel is descibed as pale, thin, and dark haired, wearing a suit in all but the first book. He has blue eyes and is once referred to as the PM's "blue-eyed boy." In The Golem's Eye, he wears, in Bartimaeus' words, a "flouncy red hankerchief", extremely tight trousers, and his hair long. At this point in his life, Nathaniel is described as very aesthetically concerned, which is consistent with the materialistic society of magicians around him.

In Ptolemy's Gate, he has his hair cut short (as a nod to the soldiers fighting in the current war) and he wears no tie.


Book 1 Edit

Nathaniel was born to unknown parents in 1988, not much is known about his infancy and early childhood though it appears from his memories that the early years of his life where happy. At the age of five, he becomes a magicians apprentice as part of a government program which pays parents to give up their children to become part of the ruling class of magicians. His master, Arthur Underwood, is a mediocre magician and the Minister of Internal Affairs. Underwood is unwilling to having an apprentice while his wife, Martha, warmly welcomes Nathaniel. Though he is instructed by the authorities to forget his birth name as knowing it could become a threat to him in later life and a substitute will be chosen when he is twelve years old Martha allows him to continue using it throughout his childhood. Between the ages of five and twelve years old he is educated in many subjects including geography, history, politics, mathematics, languages, music and art by tutors. As well as being taught about spirits and magic by his master. He showed intelligence early on but unrecognized.

Subsequent to Nathaniel's mocking, now 12 years old, at the hands of a powerful magician known as Simon Lovelace, he seeks revenge by stealing from Lovelace. An additional fuel to his revenge was the firing of his beloved tutor Ms. Lutyens, who tried to attack Lovelace during the incident to save the boy.

Nathaniel, in a feat, summoned a djinni, Bartimaeus, to do his bidding. Nathaniel charged the djinni to obtaining the Amulet of Samarkand from the house of Simon Lovelace.

Lovelace, was able to follow the djinni's trail to Underwood's house. He accused Arthur of the theft. Conflict began inside the household. The Underwoods were massacred and their house burnt. Nathaniel escaped with the djinni.

At some point, Nathaniel met Kitty Jones, the mysterious young girl, with some other young boys who took his Scrying Glass. At this time, awareness of the resistance was only rising.

Later, Nathaniel now in revenge of Mrs. Underwood's death, followed Lovelace. In his quest, he uncovered a plot by Lovelace that endangered the Government of England. He saved the Prime Minister and other members of the parliament from Simon Lovelace. Nathaniel was propelled to a position of favor and admiration as a result. He finally had the recognition he wanted.

Book 2 Edit

By age 14, Nathaniel becomes a part of the Department of Internal Affairs under the personal watch of both Rupert Devereaux and Jessica Whitwell. His young age and accomplishments earned him respect from some elder magicians, but jealousy and resentment from his peers and those under him.

He is given the task of investigating and exposing a revolutionary group know only as the Resistance, which by this time was causing trouble around London. He would search for, in revenge again, Kitty and the boys who took his Scrying Glass which would simultaneously help in his uncovering of the resistance.

He is indirectly responsible for the destruction of Duvall's Golem. He summoned Bartimaeus again to aid solving the Golem case. Kitty Jones, through the guidance of Bartimaeus, was the one who defeated the Golem and saved an unconscious Nathaniel. Nathaniel was rocked to learn that Kitty had "died" to save him.

Book 3 Edit

After the events shown in The Golem's Eye, he was promoted to Head of Internal Affairs, and later Information Minister.

Later, when Nathaniel was seventeen, he would meet again Kitty Jones who he would found connection with. They both landed in the middle of Quentin Makepeace's scheme, in which Nathaniel decided to let go completely of his magician ambitions and be the better man. Nathaniel summoned his djinni, Bartimaeus, into his body (initially unwillingly, as it was Kitty who convinced both of them to do so) and acquired Gladstone's staff. He slew Nouda and the other demon-human hybrids, but died in the process as the Glass Palace collapsed on him. At the very end, he gave Bartimaeus' freedom, mirroring the sacrifice of Ptolemy. But in the process, broke his promise of return to Kitty.

Awareness on Nathaniel's birth name Edit

At the glass palace (book 3) where Nathaniel was fighting Nouda, Kitty called on to Nathaniel. With Kitty were a few lower magicians who witnessed that the man called Nathaniel was John Mandrake and that a djinni was within him. Among those magicians was Ms. Piper whom Nathaniel acknowledged.

Spirits Edit

Name Spirit Class Appearnces Short Details
Bartimaeus djinni Books 1,2,3 Nathaniel's first summon
Ascobol greater djinni Book 3 Killed by Faquarl
Belazael Book 3 Nathaniel only used the name as diversion
Castor djinni Book 2 Served only momentarily. Dismissed

and Clovis's unnamed partner

foliot Book 2 Dismissed
Cormocodran greater djinni Book 3 Killed by Faquarl
Fritang lesser djinni Book 3 Dismissed
Hodge greater djinni Book 3 Killed by Faquarl
Mwamba greater djinni Book 3 Killed by Faquarl
Purip lesser djinni Book 3 Last seen being sent off for observations

Fate not told but probably dismissed

Sophocles foliot Book 2 Killed by Kitty
Scrying Imp imp Books 1,2,3 The first spirit Nathaniel used in order to create a scrying device

Character Arc Edit

Summary Edit

He begins the trilogy as a young boy with decent morals and relatively unsullied motivations; how he becomes more morally ambiguous and his motivations less pure throughout the second and third books, and how he finally returns to the state he was in during the first book - by the end, his motives and morals are relatively pure again. This is represented in the way in which he is referred to as Nathaniel by the narrative voice for the first and second books, and John Mandrake for a large part of the third book, before beginning again to be referred to as Nathaniel toward the end.

Comprehensive Edit

Nathaniel, from a young age, was fully immersed within the philosophy and worldview of the average British magician. Consequently, he began his life with the disposition of a traditional apprentice: selfish, arrogant, and naïve. His ambitions and brilliance motivated much of his personal development. His encounters with the djinni Bartimaeus, the Resistance, and the destruction of Underwood's house were all initiated by a plot that Nathaniel hatched to avenge himself on the magician Simon Lovelace.

However, several factors affected Nathaniel in ways that most magician apprentices were not. Martha Underwood, his first master's wife, took the role of a surrogate mother in his life. She showered the young boy with attention and kindness and called him by his birth name, allowing the boy's morality and sense of loyalty remain intact (to some extent). Ms. Lutyens, the boys commoner tutor, also referred to him by his name. She was cheery and positive and showed the boy empathy.

Bartimaeus too noticed the boy's difference among magicians and gave the young magician some advice. He noticed that the boy was taking revenge on Lovelace for Mrs. Underwood's death. The boy's revenge is a dangerous and an act out of passionate. Magicians usually do everything to preserve themselves.

(Books 2 and 3) Many years of employment in the government had consumed Nathaniel and he became a "magician", ambitious and power-hungry. He had become John Mandrake and he lived the name. Bartimaeus noted the way he smoothed back his hair resembled Lovelace, and towards the end he mentioned that Makepeace had invited him to a play, phrasing almost exactly like Lovelace had in Book 1.

(Book 3) But for a top magician, John Mandrake did his work thinking that his work was for the good of the country. Which showed that he still had sense of good albeit a little skewed; for he believed in the power of magicians.

Mandrake had been reluctant to dismiss Bartimaeus. Bart guessed that Mandrake's memories of the past, when the boy was unlike a magician, was linked to Bart. This was an early hint that Mandrake was troubled about his path. Later on, Nathaniel would dismiss Bartimaeus to save the djinni in expense of the magician's reputation.

Mandrake's inner conflicts were escalated when he encountered again the people whom he met when he was young - Kitty and Ms. Lutyens. He recalled Kitty Jones who against all reason saved him from the Golem. He briefly crossed-paths with his former tutor Ms. Lutyens who hinted her disappointment of Nathaniel becoming John Mandrake. And there's Bartmaeus who complained about Nathaniel's life decisions among many the djinni spoke of. Mandrake was slowly reverting to his morality as a person.

Kitty had saved Nathaniel when he was a helpless young boy (book 1). She had saved him again when he was a helpless young magician (book 2). And yet again she tried to save him when he was a helpless powerful magician (book 3). His senses were opening by and by due to realizations of the girl and Bart's actions. And, he saw himself in Makepeace - the man who had the government ruined and had Kitty nearly killed - that he was becoming something like the playwright. He had told Kitty to call him by his real name of Nathaniel, an act which parallels his decision to be unlike a magician and be a better man.

The threat to Kitty's life had made him decide to protect her. The threat of Quentin Makepeace's government turnover had made him decide to fight for the government. The Makepeace scheme would quickly take a turn. And the threat of the Spirit Revolt had made Nathaniel decide to now fight for the people. He resisted to join Makepeace and he resisted the fear to go against the spirits. All the while, he made his decisions not for himself but for others.

Nathaniel laterr agreed, with the urging of Kitty, for Bartimaeus to possess him with both of them in control of one body. The product shows that peace can co-exist between the two kinds. In a way, he became the person that symbolizes Kitty's aspirations to achieve (peace in and between the two kinds) from the person that symbolizes Kitty's aspirations to end (magician rule and spirit enslavement). And for Bart, that Nathaniel's actions had honoured and realized the life and the sacrifices of Ptolemy.

In the end, Nathaniel's conscientious regard for the lives and well-being of commoners, magicians, and spirits had saved them in exchange of his life.

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