|Age||11/12 (The Giver) |
16 (Film Adaption)
|Given job||Receiver of Memory (The Giver), Leader of Village (Messenger), Scholar/Librarian (Son),|
|Allies||The Giver, Kira, Asher, Fiona, Gabriel, Matthew, Annabelle, Matt, Lily, Claire, Frolic, Mentor|
|Enemies||The Community, Trademaster, Chief Elder (movie)|
|Appearances||The Giver, Messenger, Son|
|Portrayed by||Brenton Thwaites|
Jonas is the main protagonist in The Giver and a secondary character in Messenger and Son. At the start of the series, he is selected to become the Receiver of Memory during the Ceremony of Twelve and gains the knowledge of generations 'back and back'. This causes him to rebel against the Community and eventually escape to Elsewhere with baby Gabriel, restoring their memories and emotions. He later becomes Leader of the Village in Elsewhere and fathers two children with Kira.
Jonas, like every child in the Community, was born from a Birthmother and assigned to a mother and a father, becoming part of a family unit. He was raised to adhere to the Community's strict rules and customs, which included precision of language, excessive politeness, and never lying amongst other principles governed by the guiding concept of Sameness. His parents worked in the Law & Justice, and Nurturing fields, respectively. When Jonas was a Four, his parents were assigned a female named Lily. He also is the husband of Fiona.
Growing up, Jonas was, like all children, under observation by the Elders for eventual assignments within the Community. He was a top student and usually behaved well at school, with the exception of a few minor language-related infractions, as well as an incident where he was observed using an apple to play catch with his close friend, Asher, and promptly called out (indirectly) on the speaker for it. It was during this time he first summoned the ability to See Beyond, where the apple would 'change' multiple times in mid-air. In reality, he was viewing its true color, red, for moments at a time.
At the start of the book, Jonas described his feelings of apprehension towards his unknown Assignment during his last days as an Eleven within the Community. He went through typical daily rituals at his dwelling, such as emotional consultation and dream-telling. He was reassured by his parents and resumed his volunteer hours next day at the House of the Old, with close friends Fiona and Asher. Around this period, Jonas began to experience the Stirrings; adolescent physical urges that the Community discouraged by issuing mandatory pills that blocked depth of emotion. He is given the pills by his mother and takes them from then on.
It was also during this time that his family unit began to participate in the nurturing process of a troubled newchild, Gabriel, nicknamed Gabe, at his father's behest. Jonas noted that he and Gabriel both shared the same, differentiating trait of pale eyes. At the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas was selected, rather then assigned, as next Receiver of Memory. This separated him from his peers due to his isolated conditions and mystery surrounding his training, although his family regarded it as a great honor. Part of his training conditions were strict rules of confidentially, exemption from rudeness and dream-telling rituals, withdrawal of training-related medication, and being granted the ability to lie.
Jonas soon began training with the current Receiver in the Annex behind the House of Old after school. He was given memories past generations, both pleasant and painful. Gradually, these included experiences of snow, sunshine, rainbows, and love, as well as war, famine and death. He developed an acquired wisdom, as well as a disdain for his own Community, realizing that no one in his life or family truly feels real emotion. Jonas also grew closer to Gabriel, the newchild with pale eyes, and comforted him at night with his own memories.
He also became incredibly curious about Elsewhere, and asked the Receiver, now called the Giver, about life beyond. However, the Giver soon revealed a Community custom, Release, as a process of euthanasia instead of letting people into Elsewhere, as Jonas previously thought. Releasing is revealed to be performed on individuals such as twins, criminal offenders, and the Old. The Giver's daughter and previous Receiver, Rosemary, was willfully released after she grew suicidal upon receiving painful memories of of the past.
Jonas was distraught, and both he at the Giver came to the realization that the Community can't continue without their memories. They devise a plan where Jonas will escape to Elsewhere, given food, supplies, and strengthening memories to sustain him, and free the Community from sameness by restoring their memories upon leaving. Jonas soon realized that the newchild, Gabriel, which has been taken care of by his family unit, was due for release the day of the Ceremony, and decides to take Gabriel with him. Despite not being able to say goodbye to the Giver, who stays in order to help the Community recover after the escape, Jonas used his father's bike and limited provisions in order to flee to Elsewhere with Gabe.
Throughout the journey, they faced dangers from the cold and lack of food, drinking from streams with Jonas giving most of his provisions to Gabriel. Eventually, they ventured across the forest an arrived at a place deemed to be Elsewhere, and Jonas, on the brink of starvation, managed to escape with Gabe on a sled across the border.
Set roughly three years after The Giver, Jonas was mentioned in Gathering Blue when Matt/Matty was trying to convince Kira to move to the Village, indicating that he and Gabriel made it to Elsewhere alive. He described a 'two-syllable boy, not even broken,' the same age as her with 'amazing blue eyes', and speculated that Kira could marry him if she wanted to, which she denied.
Jonas then grew to be an adult and Leader of Village in Elsewhere, depicted as a place where all outcasts from previous communities gathered to create a cherishing and altruistic community. It is said in the book that a few years after he fled his Community, he was sent a barrage of books from the Giver that now make up his library, a sign that things had indeed changed. Directly outside Village resides Forest, a perhaps sentient and dangerous realm which Villagers feared.
A boy named Matty, also known as Matt, is able to pass through Forest without incident and subsequently was appointed Messenger by Jonas, now known as Leader. Discord soon grew within the Village, as a creature called Trademaster began to appear and tempt Villagers with material goods in exchange for their virtues. This transformed their compassion into discontent, and they soon pushed to close their borders to the disabled and broken in order to protect themselves, much to the Leader' dismay.
Seer, Kira's father, soon sent Matt back to his own Village in order to retrieve her before the borders close. Leader used his capacity to See Beyond in order sense Forest's dangers. As their journey reached its end but their situation grew more perilous, Leader himself went to attempt to save them but was captured by Forest's traps. Kira, who also possess the capacity to See Beyond using her weaving skills, manages to forge a telepathic connection with him, who tells her to ask Matt to use his powers. Matt expands his abilities to heal not just the entire Forest, but the Village and its peoples as well, diminishing Trademaster’s threat and restoring the Villagers' humanity at the expense of his own life. Matt is known and remembered as Healer, a name given to him by Leader as the Village is restored.
Jonas had retired from his position as Leader for the sake of his family, but was still revered by much of Village. He and Kira were happily married with two children named Annabelle and Matthew. Gabe, now fifteen, experienced the urge to return to his village to find his birth parents, which Jonas discouraged. However, Jonas soon began to sense the presence of something with a connection to Gabe, revealed to be Gabe's birthmother, Claire, aged by Trademaster's powers. The Village appeared to be content, once again a welcoming place built from those who were broken. A local museum was also described, containing artifacts relevant to the Village’s history, including the sled Jonas had brought Gabriel on.
Jonas was soon confronted by a seemingly old Claire, who explained the shocking truth to Jonas and revealed much about Gabe's past, in addition to the return of Trademaster. They both resolved to tell Gabe, however, Claire's condition weakened while Gabe was reluctant to abandon his plan of escaping to his former Community. Jonas and Kira attempted to explain the concept of Seeing Beyond, which he admitted was fading for the both of them as they aged. Jonas planned to use his power one final time, in order to locate Trademaster and have Gabe defeat him using his own abilities.
Jonas then left to take care of an ailing Claire, and was soon tracked down by Gabe which prompted him to explain the truth about his parentage. When Gabe was skeptical about the trade she had made, Jonas and Mentor explained to him Trademaster's true nature and the impact he had on Claire's life. Gabe soon vowed to reverse the trade and restore his mother; supported by Jonas, who saw beyond a final time in order to locate him, Gabe defeated Trademaster using his powers of empathy and clairvoyance to reduce him to dust. By doing so, Claire was restored to her usual health and beauty and was guided by Jonas to reunite with Gabe.
Jonas was not assigned to a job like his peers, but was selected to be the Receiver of Memory, where he obtained memories, feelings, and colors from The Giver. After escaping the Community, his memories were released back to the people as they were left to rebuild.
In the Village, Jonas became known as Leader in his late teens and continued to guide the people through times of trouble. He retired during late adulthood in order to raise his family, and assumed the position of Scholar/Protector of the books instead.
In the film adaptation of The Giver, Jonas was portrayed by Australian actor Brenton Thwaites. He was also aged up to be 16 in the film instead of 11 or 12. In addition, instead of the marker of pale blue eyes indicating the ability to See Beyond, he and Gabriel both had a blue mark on their wrists. In the film adaptation, he was also assigned the Number 52 instead of Number 19. Furthermore, Fiona is presented as his love interest, whereas in the books, she is incapable of reciprocating feelings due to the effect of the pills.