15 Stranger Things Characters Ranked By Bravery

15 Stranger Things Characters Ranked By Bravery

There are numerous brave acts in the first four seasons of Stranger Things – Mike standing up to a bully, the gang facing the pack of Demodogs, and Eleven closing the gateway to the Upside Down.

All the characters have had their unique ways of support and bravery within the story. However, there are a few characters whose bravery is immensely significant and stands out from the rest.

Updated on June 1st, 2022, by Shawn S. Lealos: Stranger Things returned for its fourth season in 2022 and Netflix chose to split it up into two parts. The first part saw the characters split up into three different locations, with some kids headed to California, some remaining in Hawkins, and Hopper trapped in a Russian prison. However, they are all still part of the same giant battle against the Upside Down, and that required the utmost in bravery from all the characters. From Hopper and Joyce to Eleven to newcomer Eddie and Mike, Stranger Things has shown these characters grow into powerfully brave individuals as the biggest battle of their lives is on the horizon.


15 Dustin Henderson

Dustin Henderson clapping

Dustin was never the bravest person when it came to the Stranger Things kids. However, he has started coming into his own and luckily had a real-life girlfriend who could help him save the world in the third season. Now, in the fourth season, Dustin has joined a group called the Hellfire Club and is trying to take a proactive stance with Mike on Stranger Things.

RELATED: 5 Worst Things Dustin Did In Stranger Things (& The 5 Most Heroic Things)

There was also a great joke in Stranger Things’ fourth season that referred to Dustin’s bravery. Dustin wore a Weird Al Yankovic shirt, which caused Eddie Munson to tell him how brave that made him.

14 Dr. Martin Brenner

Dr. Brenner at Nina Project

In Stranger Things’ first season, Dr. Brenner was one of the main villains. He ran the laboratory that Eleven escaped from and he seemed willing to kill anyone who got in his way of protecting that lab. He ended up seemingly dying at the end of the season. However, Brenner is not dead and he returned in season four.

Brenner is working for the CIA and he feels that Eleven is necessary to fight the great evil coming from the Upside Down. He took her in again and helped her get her powers back to battle this evil, and looking back at the series from a distance, he has acted incredibly bravely in the face of monumental danger on more than one occasion.

13 Eddie Munson

Was Eddie Munson Held Back In Stranger Things SR

Eddie Munson is a newcomer in the fourth season of Stranger Things. He is an older student who is repeating his senior year while his new friends Dustin and Mike are starting high school. He is also the leader of a group called the Hellfire Club, which is his way of preparing for a battle to come.

However, Eddie finds himself in trouble when the town decides he was responsible for the death of a girl, and it took his new friends to help prove his innocence. Meanwhile, Eddie kept a brave face and he seems ready to help his new friends in their battle with the Upside Down.

12 Dmitri Antanov

Hopper and Dmitri talking in a Russian prison on Stranger Things

Dmitri was a newcomer in season 4 of Stranger Things, showing up as a prison guard at the location Hopper was kept prisoner at after his apparent death in season 3. However, Dmitri wasn’t there this season to keep Hopper in the prison, and he was on hand to help try to break him out.

This led to a failure, but Dmitri stood by Hopper’s side to battle a Demogorgon when they were sold out during the escape attempt. Now, with Joyce also at the prison to help break out Hopper, Dmitri will be by their side as they battle the rest of the guards and get them out and back to America.

11 Max Mayfield

Max Mayfield at Billy Hargrove's Grave

Max went through a lot from the start of Stranger Things to season four. She wasn’t always the nicest person to the main boys and was extremely judgmental of them. However, Max was also a very courageous and brave character and soon warmed up to them, and she had to, considering all she lost on the show so far.

When it came time to go to the Upside Down to help their friends, she even got behind the wheel of a car to drive them there – and she had never driven before. Max also spent a lot of time in season four dealing with her brother Billy’s death and that hardened her up and helped protect her from serial killer Vecna.

10 Billy Hargrove

Although Billy is one of the most notorious characters in the show with his bad-boy persona and violent nature, he does have a moment of bravery that was very important.

RELATED: 8 Movies That Influenced Stranger Things Season 4

In the third season, Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer, making him the leading villain that Eleven and the others must face for most of the season. However, at the end of the season, Billy’s humanity is restored, and he redeems himself by sacrificing himself to save Eleven and keep the Mind Flyer at bay. It shows bravery to give up your own life to protect others, and that is exactly what he did. This moment, in particular, showed he wasn’t such a bad guy after all.

9 Will Byers

Stranger Things season 3 poster Will Byers

Despite having numerous reasons to be terrified after everything that had happened to him, Will did have acts of bravery that assisted in the struggle against the Mind Flayer. He, perhaps better than others, knew just how powerful the creatures of the Upside Down were, yet continued to help his friends fight them. It was not the same headstrong bravery seen in some of the other characters, but his standing up to the Mind Flayer through a constant mental battle still warrants the title of brave.

Will’s connection with the Mind Flayer made him a great asset in the stand against it.  Despite being frightened and in pain in the second season, he allowed his friends to use this connection to their advantage and locate the tunnels beneath Hawkins. He drew the pictures of the map and even withstood a form of torture to tell them exactly where to find the entrance.

8 Mike Wheeler

Mike from Stranger Things was a ‘fearless leader’ from the very start, leading the search for Will, never giving up hope, and being loyal to the very end. His bravery is evident in the way he protected his friends at every possible cost.

His compassion is evident in how he looks after Eleven all through season 2 and continuing into season 3. Even when attacked by the possessed Billy, he was by her side. In the first season, He refused to believe that Will was gone and led the cause for his rescue. He was even willing to throw himself off a cliff to save Dustin from the bullies, possibly risking his own life if it wasn’t for Eleven.

7 Jonathan Byers

Jonathan’s quiet nature and shy characteristics may seem at odds with bravery, but he had several moments that proved he could be all of those things. Jonathan was willing to fight off the Demogorgon and the Demodogs to keep his family and friends safe, and he did plenty of this throughout all three seasons.

Jonathan helped a lot in the search for his brother and the finding of the Demogorgon. He and Nancy were two of the first characters to enter Upside Down as they searched for Barb in season 1. He physically fought off the Demogorgon at the attack on his house as they tried to get Will back.

6 Nancy Wheeler

Nancy, at first glance, came across as the “goody-two-shoes,” older sister type, but actually played a big role in uncovering the secrets of the Upside Down. Nancy shows more bravery based on her willingness to lead and get results no matter what the consequences.

RELATED: Stranger Things Season 4 Vol. 1 All Episodes, Ranked By IMDb

She found out a lot about the Russian agenda behind the scenes despite risky consequences when she and Jonathan found Murray in season 2.  In the first season, She was even willing to venture into the Upside Down to find Barb. Among everyone else,  Nancy was the one who knew how to operate a gun and used it to protect everyone at the attack on the Byer’s house. She shows bravery even in small moments when she stood up to her boss when she was mistreated.

5 Steve Harrington

Steve is one of the most adaptable characters in the show and showed a lot of development throughout. He went from being Nancy’s arrogant boyfriend to one of the bravest supporting friends. Steve shows more bravery than most of the characters because he physically fought off the creatures of Upside Down and put his own life at risk to protect others.

Even though he really didn’t know any of them (besides Nancy) that well, he was ready in an instant to protect them from the Demogorgon with his signature baseball bat in season 1. In the second season, he again becomes a protector for everyone as they fight off the Demodogs. In the third season especially, he risks his life to sneak into the secret Russian base in the Starcourt Mall.

4 Bob Newby

Although Bob wasn’t a huge character in the series, he displayed one of the greatest acts of bravery that guaranteed him a spot in the rankings. Even though Bob had a short time on the show, he was truly supportive of Joyce, Will, and Jonathan as much as possible. When he does find out the truth, he is ready to jump to action and assist them.

When the Demodogs cornered them in the lab in season 2, he was willing to hold them off and essentially give his own life for them to get away. Much like Billy, this act of sacrifice reveals his true bravery. It shows more courage to give up your life than perhaps anything else.

3 Joyce Byers

Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers in Season 3 of Stranger Things

Joyce deserves a top spot in the rankings due to her bravery shown through her unwavering willingness to go to hell and back to keep her kids safe. In season 1, Joyce was ready to do whatever it took to get Will back, even though everyone thought she was crazy.

She was willing to communicate with Will through the Christmas lights hung on the wall and risked an attack on her house to get him back. In the third season, she is also the one who physically turned off the key to close the gate even though she feared for Hopper’s life. It took bravery to fight her personal emotions and do what was right to protect everyone else. In season four, she took it one step further when she went to Russia to attempt to rescue Jim.

2 Jim Hopper

Stranger Things Jim Hopper Hat

Without a doubt, Hopper stands as one of the bravest characters. His actions and nature throughout the series are evidence enough. Hopper is perhaps the only character who is constantly following every lead of this ‘investigation.’ In season 2, He was the one who ventured into the tunnels in an attempt to destroy the Demodog “nests.”

It shows all the bravery in the world, to face the monsters and physically fight them constantly. In the third season, he, at every chance, tried to protect Eleven and assist her with her powers. He fought the Russian scientists in the secret lab in the Mall and did what he could to try and shut the gate, even if it almost cost him his life. In season four, he kept fighting, this time in a Russian prison, and actually withstood a Demogorgon.

1 Eleven

Eleven using her powers in Stranger Things

Eleven is, without a doubt, the character who shows the most bravery throughout the series. Time and time again, she protected her friends from the creatures of the Upside Down and sacrificed her own needs for them. Eleven was required to protect and save her friends on multiple accounts, such as saving Mike from falling off the cliff, saving them from the Demogorgon in season 1 and the Demodogs in season 2, and fighting off the possessed Billy in season 3.

She was willing to disappear into the Upside Down in the first season to save them, potentially sacrificing herself. She was also forced to face her kidnappers on multiple occasions through all three seasons and did so without fear. Her bravery was shown the most at the moment when she used her powers to ultimately shut the gate and destroy the Mind Flayer, saving everyone in Hawkins.

NEXT: Every Main Stranger Things Character, Ranked By Power

A split image features Stranger Things characters Erica, Argyle, and Karen

10 Stranger Things Side Characters With Main Character Energy

About The Author

Abigail Smith
(85 Articles Published)

Abigail is a Full Sail Alumni with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. She enjoys writing short fiction stories mainly themed around suspense and horror. Some of her favorite authors are J.K Rowling, Jane Austen, and Caroline Kerpnes. She also enjoys playing video games in her free time.

More From Abigail Smith

Author: Deann Hawkins