Today I will be presenting an award for the best “Stranger Things” character, Will Byers(or Will the Wise). “Will the Wise” is the name of the wizard character played by Will Byers in his and his friends’ Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Unlike most characters, Will has flaws and overcomes obstacles which makes him so humane, unique, and likable. Will Byers is a selfless, relatable, and brave person who has changed my life and others. He has taught me to never give up and keep trying, even in adversities. For example, In season 1, episode 1, he was a regular 12-year-old in a town called Hawkins, until he was captured in an unknown and mysterious place known as the Upside Down. He was stuck in the Upside Down which was cold, dark, and full of mysterious and harmful monsters for a week. He was gone from the real world for such a long time that they even made a funeral for him. Even though he was close to death, he still tried his best to survive and had hope that help was coming. Thankfully, he was eventually saved at the end of the season. He was young but extremely brave. If I was him, I would have given up and had no hope, but now he has taught me to have courage and never give up even in grave situations. A situation in which he has helped me overcome was during quarantine. I was so close to going into depression and I had no hope that the quarantine was ever gonna end. I was feeling worse and worse until I rewatched “Stranger Things” and realized that if Will can survive being in a dangerous situation and still have hope, so can I. Therefore, I decided to use the time for quarantine to grow spiritually and academically and I have Will to thank for that.
Even after Will’s traumatic experience, he still managed to continue his life, which is extremely brave. Though he did survive the Upside Down, he still suffered from the aftermath of being bullied. He was severely bullied and was called a “zombie boy” because people thought he died. I also understand his situation with bullying, which is another reason I like him and I can know what he is going through. I’ve been called names like a “stick” and other stuff, however, having someone else go through the same situations as me, makes me feel less lonely. Most people do not know that Will suffered and survived the Upside Down which is why I think his trauma is overlooked by others. I relate with him in this situation because sometimes people don’t notice what I’m going through and I feel like I’m being overdramatic. Still, because of Will and his experience, I learned that I’m acting rationally to my problems and I don’t need people’s validation to know if my problems are big enough or not. Another situation that was relatable to me was when he opened up to his specific friend, Mike, about his vivid “episodes” of the Upside Down. He only told Mike because he believed that his other friends wouldn’t understand. I relate to this. Sometimes I don’t want to tell my problems to anyone because I feel that they wouldn’t comprehend them, just like how Will feels. He is very understandable to me which is what makes him so special from the rest of the characters. Will has gone through multiple hardships and kept being brave and kind to others. Will is the type of person to be nice to everyone, no matter what he is going through. His kindness is what helps me be a better version of myself and always look on the bright side.
After season 2, Will was dealing with friendship problems that I am familiar with.
He was left out for not having the same interest as his friends. While his friends were talking about their girlfriends, Will often tried to start a Dungeons and Dragons campaign but always got ignored. This is relatable to people and me. I sometimes feel that I am maturing slower than my friends and that I should change my interests and style because of that. I also relate to how he feels left out in his friend group. For example, I felt left out of my old friend group because they did not have the same passion for specific subjects as me, so they just ignored me. All these situations he goes through make me feel sympathetic for him and make him more likable. Will goes through similar obstacles as me, making me realize how all of us are perfectly imperfect even if it’s not common on T.V. Most of what is on T.V. are characters who have perfect lives and don’t go through relatable situations, which makes it difficult to connect with.
Because of Will’s traumatic events, Will’s mother decided it would be best to move states. Will’s family and his friend Eleven moved to California for a fresh start. Will and Eleven had trouble adjusting to the new state since they knew no one. To make matters worse, Will’s friends barely called or sent him letters. I relate to this because sometimes you have best friends you used to talk to every day but now you barely talk to them. I had a best friend who I talked to all the time but over the summer she slowly started fading away; therefore, I had to start my 8th-grade year knowing no one since my best friend was all I had, which is why I relate to Will on a level. In season 2 volume 2, he tells Mike how he feels different from other people which causes him to feel like a mistake. Will also mentions to Mike how he makes him feel like it is better for being different. I relate with this because often I feel like a mistake and a disappointment but we all have that special person that makes us feel important and that for me, is Will Byers. I feel so different from other people because I feel like they do not understand the circumstances I’ve been through; however, Will makes me feel better for being different because it’s more common than we think. He helps me truly comprehend the quote Dr. Suess once said, “Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out.”
Will Byers is truly the best character in Stranger Things. He may be deemed as weak to many, but he is truly very courageous and strong. His nickname, “Will the Wise” truly lives up to his name. He has made me wiser by teaching me a lot of lessons. Will has changed my perspective on how I view myself and situations. I love how Will Byers is not entirely perfect, he has flaws and goes through difficult, relatable situations just like me and others. I now feel comfortable being my unique, imperfect self. Will Byers has helped me be the best version of myself since he has influenced me to be as kind and careless as him. Will Byers’ journey of overcoming situations I’m familiar with, but still being selfless is the reason why Will Byers is the best character in “Stranger Things.”
Areli Marceleno – Saint Ignatius College Prep – DMSF Class of 2026
Image Credit: Rafal Werczynski on Unsplash