The War of the Worlds

by

H. G. Wells

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An astronomer who first tells the narrator about the strange explosions seen on Mars in the days leading up to the alien invasion. Ogilvy invites the narrator one night to view the anomaly through his telescope, and the narrator witnesses a “reddish flash at the edge” of the planet. Although neither he nor Ogilvy know it at the time, this flash is caused by the launching of the Martians’ cylinders, which have already begun their journey to earth. When the narrator asks Ogilvy about the probability of alien life existing, the astronomer says, “The chances against anything man-like on Mars are a million to one.” He also tells the narrator that any living being from Mars would be unable to survive on Earth due to vast differences in the planets’ gravitational fields. Despite his assuredness, Ogilvy is one of the first humans to die when the Martians arrive. In an attempt to communicate with the aliens, he and a small group of men—including Henderson, a journalist from London—approach the cylinder while waving a white flag. In response, the Martians decimate the men with Heat-Ray guns, instantly burning them to a char. However, this doesn’t stop the narrator from relaying Ogilvy’s ideas about gravity to his wife at dinner that night, even though it’s rather clear that the astronomer was wrong to underestimate these extraordinary beings.

Ogilvy Quotes in The War of the Worlds

The The War of the Worlds quotes below are all either spoken by Ogilvy or refer to Ogilvy. 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:
Order, Subordination, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The War of the Worlds published in 2005.
Book 1, Chapter 7 Quotes

I began to comfort her and myself by repeating all that Ogilvy had told me of the impossibility of the Martians establishing themselves on the earth. In particular I laid stress on the gravitational difficulty. On the surface of the earth the force of gravity is three times what it is on the surface of Mars. A Martian, therefore, would weigh three times more than on Mars, albeit his muscular strength would be the same. His own body would be a cope of lead to him. That, indeed, was the general opinion. Both the Times and the Daily Telegraph, for instance, insisted on it the next morning, and both overlooked, just as I did, two obvious modifying influences. […]

But I did not consider these points at the time, and so my reasoning was dead against the chances of the invaders. With wine and food, the confidence of my own table, and the necessity of reassuring my wife, I grew by insensible degrees courageous and secure.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Narrator’s Wife, Ogilvy
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ogilvy Character Timeline in The War of the Worlds

The timeline below shows where the character Ogilvy appears in The War of the Worlds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1, Chapter 1: The Eve of the War
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
News and The Dissemination of Information Theme Icon
After the first flashes from Mars, the narrator’s astronomer friend, Ogilvy, invites him to his observatory to view the anomaly. When the narrator looks through the... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 2: The Falling Star
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
...ordinary falling star” streaks across the sky, leaving behind a glowing streak of green light. Ogilvy sees this and believes it to be a meteorite. Estimating that it  landed in the... (full context)
Order, Subordination, and Hierarchy Theme Icon
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
News and The Dissemination of Information Theme Icon
The only person in Horsell Common, Ogilvy studies the Thing. As it cools, its outer layer begins to flake off, and soon... (full context)
News and The Dissemination of Information Theme Icon
As he rushes on, Ogilvy encounters a bartender closing up his pub. Like the wagoner, though, the man thinks Ogilvy... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 3: On Horsell Common
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
...are living beings inside. Still, he does believe there are “men in Mars,” despite what Ogilvy has told him about the improbability of this. He hopes that the Thing contains a... (full context)
News and The Dissemination of Information Theme Icon
...returns to the pit, where people are selling soft drinks and crowding around the edge. Ogilvy sees him and asks him to visit the lord of the manor to ask for... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 5: The Heat-Ray
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...a white flag, waving it back and forth. This small delegation (which includes Henderson and Ogilvy) wants to communicate with the Martians. As they come nearer, though, an intense flash of... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 6: The Heat-Ray in the Chobham Road
News and The Dissemination of Information Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...sent a messenger to report the news to a local paper. Along with another astronomer, Ogilvy himself also sent word (before dying) that a company of soldiers should report to the... (full context)
Book 1, Chapter 7: How I Reached Home
The Other and The Unknown Theme Icon
News and The Dissemination of Information Theme Icon
Evolution and Survival Theme Icon
...drinks wine. He tells his wife over a dinner gone cold about the Martians, lamenting Ogilvy’s death and talking about the horrifying creatures. Realizing this line of thinking will frighten her,... (full context)