Ready Player One

Ready Player One

by

Ernest Cline

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James Halliday / Anorak Character Analysis

James Donovan Halliday is the creator of the OASIS and instigator of the Easter egg hunt. His OASIS avatar is a wizard called Anorak. He was born in 1972 and grew up in Middletown, Ohio. His father was an alcoholic and his mother suffered from bipolar disorder, and the two of them often fought. To make matters worse, Halliday was an extremely shy and awkward child. He is thought to have been on the autism spectrum, and was extremely intelligent, with certain “obsessions” such as computers, videogames, and 1980s pop culture. Halliday retreated into his obsessions in order to avoid the misery of his life. In high school, he designs his first videogame, and after graduating he founds a company with his best friend Ogen Morrow, titled Gregarious Games. In 2012, he and Morrow release the OASIS. Although Halliday dies a multi-billionaire who is one of the most idolized people on the planet, it becomes clear that he had regrets about the way he lived his life. Chief among these is the fact that he never confessed his feelings to Kira Underwood, a childhood friend who became Morrow’s wife and who was the only person Halliday ever loved.

James Halliday / Anorak Quotes in Ready Player One

The Ready Player One quotes below are all either spoken by James Halliday / Anorak or refer to James Halliday / Anorak. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Ready Player One published in 2011.
Level One: 0005 Quotes

The more I'd learned about Halliday's life, the more I'd grown to idolize him. He was a god among geeks, a nerd über-deity on the level of Gygax, Garriott, and Gates. He'd left home after high school with nothing but his wits and his imagination, and he'd used them to attain worldwide fame and amass a vast fortune. He'd created an entirely new reality that now provided an escape for most of humanity. And to top it all off, he'd turned his last will and testament into the greatest videogame contest of all time.

Related Characters: Wade Watts / Parzival (speaker), James Halliday / Anorak
Related Symbols: The OASIS
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:
Level One: 0010 Quotes

I quickly lost track of time. I forgot that my avatar was sitting in Halliday's bedroom and that, in reality, I was sitting in my hideout, huddled near the electric heater, tapping at the empty air in front of me, entering commands on an imaginary keyboard. All of the intervening layers slipped away, and I lost myself in the game within the game.

Related Characters: Wade Watts / Parzival (speaker), James Halliday / Anorak
Related Symbols: The OASIS, Middletown, Ohio
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Level Three: 0038 Quotes

"Listen," he said, adopting a confidential tone. "I need to tell you one last thing before I go. Something I didn't figure out for myself until it was already

too late." He led me over to the window and motioned out at the landscape stretching out beyond it." I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn't know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life. Right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real. Do you understand?"

Related Characters: Wade Watts / Parzival (speaker), James Halliday / Anorak (speaker)
Related Symbols: The OASIS
Page Number: 364
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Ready Player One LitChart as a printable PDF.
Ready Player One PDF

James Halliday / Anorak Character Timeline in Ready Player One

The timeline below shows where the character James Halliday / Anorak appears in Ready Player One. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
0000
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
Utopia vs. Dystopia Theme Icon
...is sitting in his trailer watching cartoons when an emergency news broadcast announces that James Halliday has died. Halliday was the designer of a massive multiplayer videogame called the OASIS and... (full context)
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Halliday recalls the videogames he loved as a child, and discusses the first “Easter egg” ever... (full context)
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At the end of the video Halliday includes a link to his website, which now features a Scoreboard and a downloadable copy... (full context)
Level One: 0002
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Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
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Gunters hate Sixers and believe that IOI has corrupted the “spirit” of Halliday’s egg hunt. There are now also gunter “clans,” groups of gunters who work together and... (full context)
Level One: 0003
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...it began with the letter H. The two became friends through their mutual obsession with Halliday; nowadays they are always trying to impress each other with trivia and boast that they... (full context)
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Aech and Wade chat, teasing each other and arguing about Halliday’s interests. They are interrupted by the arrival of I-r0k, a gunter who Wade believes is... (full context)
Level One: 0005
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
...Studies. The class is a breeze considering that Wade spends all his spare time researching Halliday and his creation. Wade worships Halliday as the ultimate “nerd über-deity” who invented an “entirely... (full context)
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Halliday was born on in 1972 in Middletown, Ohio. His family was working-class; his father was... (full context)
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The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Neither Halliday nor Morrow went to college; instead, they devoted all their time to Gregarious Games. Morrow... (full context)
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Halliday and Morrow were multimillionaires by the age of 30. Where Morrow used his fortune to... (full context)
Level One: 0006
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Wade’s final class of the day is Latin, which he chose to take because Halliday had taken Latin. Wade finds it boring, and—through a glitch in the school software—he secretly... (full context)
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...“undead monsters.” He identifies the parallels between D&D and the OASIS, and soon realizes that Halliday is the OASIS equivalent of a D&D dungeon master. Wade is convinced that Halliday has... (full context)
Level One: 0007
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...schools and universities. However, it is the home of the OASIS public school system, which Halliday founded and personally funded. (full context)
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...to search Ludus for the Copper Key, so if it is hidden on the planet Halliday must have hidden it there because he wanted it to be found by a schoolkid.... (full context)
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Wade studies the map and realizes that if Halliday’s Tomb of Horrors is anything like the D&D module, he will surely die instantly. If... (full context)
Level One: 0008
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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...Acererak once again. They bow at one another, and to Wade’s surprise, Acererak transforms into Halliday’s avatar, Anorak. (full context)
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Suddenly “triumphant” music from the Star Wars soundtrack fills the room, and Anorak hands Wade the Copper Key. At the same moment, Wade gains 50,000 XPs, instantly raising... (full context)
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Wade knows that he will find a replica of Halliday’s first computer in Middletown, the planet upon which Halliday recreated his childhood hometown. Dagorath, meanwhile... (full context)
Level One: 0009
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The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
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Art3mis asks what Wade will do with Halliday’s fortune if he wins, and Wade replies that he will buy a nuclear-powered spacecraft, load... (full context)
Level One: 0010
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
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...as the planet is a PvP zone. The planet is covered with 256 copies of Halliday’s hometown, and Wade hopes that he will find one that doesn’t have any gunters in... (full context)
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The house has no people in it, but otherwise it is a perfect replica of Halliday’s childhood home. Wade finds it confusing that Halliday chose to recreate a place in which... (full context)
Level One: 0011
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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...movie WarGames. His surroundings are an exact replica of the film, which was one of Halliday’s absolute favorites. He tries to pull up his OASIS map, but gets nothing, which means... (full context)
Level One: 0012
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
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...moved in with his high school girlfriend Kira Underwood, a “quintessential geek girl,” who gave Halliday the nickname Anorak. Kira was one of GSS’s first employees, although after marrying Morrow she... (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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...in a car accident, and Morrow led a private life, running Halcydonia Interactive alone. When Halliday died, reporters hassled Morrow, convinced that he had information about the Easter egg hunt. Morrow... (full context)
Level Two: 0022
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
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...He is stunned to find somewhere called Happytime Pizza, a recreation of the pizza place Halliday frequented as a child in Middletown. Inside, there is a Robotron game machine and a... (full context)
Level Two: 0026
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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...there are several 1980s videogames. One, Black Tiger, is sucking everything toward it, including Wade. Halliday wrote in his diary that he would spend hours playing Black Tiger as a child... (full context)
Level Two: 0027
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...inside Tyrell’s office. He returns to the Vonnegut and pulls up his research notes on Halliday’s favorite band, Rush. He finds Rush’s sci-fi themed album 2112 and, on the album artwork,... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
...the letter A, which looks exactly the same as one of the character symbols in Halliday’s first Dungeons & Dragons characters sheet. It is the A for Anorak, and the same... (full context)
Level Three: 0029
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...best be put to use by IOI. He intentionally fails all the questions related to Halliday and the Easter egg hunt, as he doesn’t want to be placed in the Oology... (full context)
Level Three: 0030
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...when he escapes IOI headquarters. Most of the database is made up of information about Halliday, some of which Wade didn’t know existed. He copies vital information about the Sixers’ force... (full context)
Level Three: 0032
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
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...more respectful of other people’s privacy. However, after Wade reveals all the extra information on Halliday he downloaded from the IOI database, Art3mis softens and tells him she owes him. (full context)
Reality vs. Illusion Theme Icon
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Inequality, Elitism, and Corporate Power Theme Icon
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...three keys must be used in order to open the Third Gate. He suggests that Halliday wanted to force people to work together, although Art3mis proposes it is more likely that... (full context)
Level Three: 0033
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...eavesdropping because he wanted to help them. He won’t give them any clues, but promised Halliday that he would protect the “integrity” of the contest, which is what he is doing... (full context)
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Before Morrow leaves, Wade asks him what happened to his friendship with Halliday. Morrow explains that Halliday had been in love with Kira since high school, but he... (full context)
Level Three: 0037
Nerds, Underdogs, and Obsession Theme Icon
The Individual vs. the Collective Theme Icon
...Gate, considering that a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest appears on the last page of Anorak’s Almanac. There is only one name on Tempest’s high score: JDH, the initials of James... (full context)
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...filled with computers and videogame systems arranged  museum-style. He realizes it is a replica of Halliday’s office. He looks around, concluding that the computers are in an egg shape and that... (full context)
Level Three: 0038
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After ten minutes of failures, Wade remembers a detail from Morrow’s biography, which stated that Halliday would only address Kira by the name of her D&D character, Leucosia. Wade types in... (full context)
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Wade walks up to Anorak’s study. He looks out the window and sees that the Cataclyst’s devastation has been erased,... (full context)
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Halliday tells Wade that his avatar is immortal and all-powerful, and that he is in charge... (full context)
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After Halliday leaves, Wade is able to talk to his friends again. They congratulate him, and Wade... (full context)