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Let’s Talk About Heartstopper

*All illustrations by Alice Oseman, taken from here. Graphics made by me having way too much fun and lack of knowledge on Canva.*

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a rereader or a rewatcher. It usually takes a lot for me to want to reread or rewatch something, let alone find the time to actually do it. Well, all that went out the window when the Netflix Heartstopper show premiered on the 22nd, because that day and the two following ones consisted of:

Day 1 (22nd April 2022)

  • Watch all eight episodes of the Heartstopper show
  • Catch up with the comic

Day 2 (23rd April 2022)

  • Rewatch all eight episodes of the show
  • Reread volumes one and two of the comic

Day 3 (24th April 2022)

  • Reread volumes three and four of the comic
  • Reread all the chapters not compiled in a volume yet

All the while texting my friends who had watched it or were watching it a ridiculous amount of texts. Oh, and I’m currently on my second rewatch, so as you can see, perfectly normal person behaviour.

But why exactly did I go on such a Heartstopper binge? Simply put, this story of queer young love means a lot to me—and to many many others—and I think seeing it come to life made me realise just how important it is. I truly think we’ve come a long way in just a few years when it comes to LGBT+ representation—even though we’re nowhere near where we should be—and Heartstopper is exactly the type of show that many of us wish we had had growing up. It shows teenage characters—that actually act like teenagers!!!—experience diverse types of queerness in different ways, it features LGBT+ characters of colour, and it’s overall a happy feel-good graphic novel and now show.

The adaptation was actually fantastic, and I thought the little changes that were made worked perfectly to make a coherent show. I sincerely don’t think I have a bad word for it. So, because you know my favourite bits are always the characters, I’m going to go over all of them and shortly talk about what I think of each of them (prepare for gushing).

Harry and Ben

Played by Cormac Hyde-Corrin and Sebastian Croft.

Yes, we’re talking about them first. I’ve put them together because they’re both horrible. But sadly they’re very realistic characters. Harry is, simply put, just a bully who’ll pick on anyone to make himself feel better. And Ben… oh Ben, he’s bad but, in my opinion, a very interesting character. He’s, after all, trying to figure himself out… in the worse way possible: acting based solely on what he wants and without taking into account anyone else’s feelings. I thought both portrayals were fantastic as I did really quite dislike them both, as was intended.

Imogen

Played by Rhea Norwood.

Imogen is one of the new characters that were added and I thought it was a nice touch. Lots of people truly dislike her but I just thought she was a girl with a crush acting like most teenagers would. After Nick turns her down she takes it really well and they continue to be friends, so I don’t understand why she’s getting so much hate. I really hope we get to see more of her friendship with Nick and that we see her blossom.

Tori

Played by Jenny Walser.

She’s the moment, she’s the legend. Tori only has a few appearances in the show, but she was perfect. You can see how much she loves Charlie and she’s overall just a super supportive, loving older sister. I also still can’t get over how perfect the actress, Jenny Walser, was.

Isaac / Aled

Played by Tobie Donovan.

Isaac is also a new addition to the cast, but he’s very obviously based on Aled. I genuinely adored Isaac, seeing him carry a book around everywhere was really cute, and I loved how he was super quiet but also super observant. He was a lovely addition which makes a lot of sense if they want to keep Aled in case Alice ever wishes to sell the rights to Radio Silence. I’m especially excited to see how he’s further developed and how that differs from Aled in the comics. Alice Oseman also confirmed on twitter that he’s aroace, so I’m looking forward to exploring yet another queer identity that’s often overlooked.

Tao

Played by William Gao.

So, I’m going to be honest, when I first read the graphic novel it took me a while to grow to love Tao, but once I got there, there was no going back. He is certainly over-protective and constantly over-reacting but he does it because he cares about his friends, specifically Charlie, so I can’t fault him. I really loved his character relief-y moments as he made me laugh out loud more than once, so I thought it was a nice added touch.

Elle

Played by Yasmin Finney.

One of my favourite aspects of the show is that I feel we got to see more of Elle and, sinse I absolutely adore her, that was a treat. She’s such a lovely friend and honestly, great moral support for all of them, specifically Tao. I really enjoyed seeing her through the process of starting in a new school and make friends. I also can’t ignore the fact that having a trans POC girl just living her life and being surrounded by people that love her is a strong message to send.

Darcy

Played by Kizzy Edgell.

I think that Darcy, much like Tao, carries many of the comic relief duties on the show—and the graphic novel. It’s really refreshing to see she’s such a carefree person that doesn’t seem to be too affected by what others think of her. She doesn’t time that much screen-time but she still managed to command attention to her, so I hope we get some of her back story next season to get to know her better.

Tara

Played by Corinna Brown.

Tara is another character that I love—I say this as if I didn’t love them all with my entire being—and I really enjoyed that we got more of her storyline. In the comic we only ever see her talk about her struggle with coming out and identifying as a lesbian, but here we actually get to see it. I truly enjoyed that we got to see more of Darcy and Tara’s relationship (as a sidenote, their kiss at the party is the one scene that made me cry both times from pure joy).

Nick

Played by Kit Connor.

Ah Nick Nelson, my beloved. He is actually my favourite character in Heartstopper and one of my favourite characters ever. I mentioned him on my bisexual representation in comics post and I genuinely feel like I could write an entire post about him. Nick’s journey of self-discovery is very dear to me, and the fact that his bisexuality is constantly validated in the comics and the show is actually so important. I just simply adore him and how sweet and open he is. I also really want to point out that I treasure his friendship with Tara, so I wish we see more in the future.

Charlie

Played by Joe Locke.

Finally, our main character, Charlie. He’s just one of those characters that you want to wrap in a blanket and protect. Seeing his story come to life was a pleasure, and I really do hope we get to see more of it. On top of that, I loved how they were already leaving crumbs of plotlines to come, so I’m excited. Charlie has gone through hell but he is still the most sensitive and supportive character ever. He is always careful not to hurt other people’s feelings, even when he’d be more than allowed to be angry. I’m still amazed that this was apparently Joe Locke’s first acting job, because he completely blew it out of the water.

Have you watched Heartstopper? What did you think of it? Had you already read the graphic novel or are you new to this story?

See you next time, Maria

26 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Heartstopper

  1. I can’t get over how much I loved watching the show and Nick is my favorite character as well. That’s not to say that I don’t like and even love the others too, there’s just so many great characters in this series!! Definitely don’t get the hate towards Imogen either, because she didn’t make it hard on him at all after she learned he didn’t reciprocate her feelings.
    I’m going to rewatch this so many times!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I LOVED THIS SHOW AND GRAPHIC NOVEL SERIES!!
    heartstopper is now my comfort series.
    tao was my favourite charcter, he’s so dramatic and protective of charlie.. tori is iconic.

    also can we just talk about the casting, they literally resemble the characters from the comic so well. I love that we got to see more of tara and darcy in the show
    i think i also disliked Imogen at the start, but she’s a sweet person. And I began to like her character towards the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I love seeing Tao being appreciated like the great friend he is!!

      I totally agree that the cast is spot-on. I think Imogen’s only “crime” is being a bit annoying in the beginning, which definitely doesn’t grant the amount of hate she’s recieved.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved hearing your thoughts on heartstopper!! I absolutely adored the show and graphics novels so much, and just finished watching the show for the second time. It’s always interesting to hear people’s thoughts on characters like Harry and Ben, because while they’re terrible people they’re also very realistic (I had visceral flashbacks to year 10 when hearing Harry talk).

    Loved your graphics for this too! They’re all very cute ! 💛

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ahh, Heartstopper!! I think it’s totally normal to binge it, it’s the only sane thing to do. 😂 I absolutely adored the show, the actors all did an amazing job! And the people who cast them too! I mean, they look just like in the graphic novels, which is so good. I also loved the little doodles on the screen, like leaves falling. It added a nice graphic novel-y feel to it.
    I’m happy with everything, though, to be honest, I don’t feel the need for Imogen or Isaac’s character as of now, but that might change. I didn’t realise Isaac was supposed to be Aled, but then why couldn’t he be called Aled? The aroace rep is great, though I hope they’ll have more spotlight for him in the later season(s). I also don’t get the mentioned hate towards Imogen, she was really sweet.
    I loved how we got to see more of Tara and Darcy and Elle! And I just adore Tao, even more in the tv show. I know he’s not the easiest, but I totally get all the emotions and thoughts behind his actions.
    Nicely done post! I’m glad you decided to wrote about it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yees, the doodles were super adorable and added a really cute touch! Isaac is, I believe, only loosely based on Aled, like, there’s definitely similarities between the too but they’re also not the same person. Alice did mention of twitter that Aled wasn’t going to be on the show in part because that left the door open if they ever wanted to adapt Radio Silence (You can read their whole explanation here: https://twitter.com/AliceOseman/status/1386683766672920584). As for Imogen, she was definitely added in to give a bit more of drama to the plot, but I didn’t hate it, especially after seeing how positively she reacted after Nick told her he wasn’t interested!

      Seeing more of the girls was definitely a bonus, I can’t wait for more from Higgs. And yep, Tao is a great character, even if I feel like he might be one that has the potential to be polarising. William Gao definitely did a great job at finding the balance between comic relief and serious intense friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG!! I just finishing watching this show in one sitting and had butterflies the entire time! It was beautiful, validating and just darn perfect! I am going to be rewatching the heck out of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG, Maria, this is the best post ever!!! 🥰 Also, are you my soulmate? Because guess who spent all of Friday binging through Heartstopper, even though she most definitely did NOT have the time for it, and all of basically every other day until now rewatching/rereading her favorite scenes because a full rewatch/reread just wasn’t excusable considering how behind Heartstopper has already made her on lesson-planning? 😭

    But anyway, this is definitely up there with The Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games as one of my absolute favorite book-to-movie adaptations of all time, and I agree that gushing is the only way to deal with it!!! 🥰🥰🥰 I obviously already loved Charlie and Nick before I saw them on-screen, but I absolutely adored seeing the actors bring them to life – particularly because of how true they stayed to the comic! Like, OMG, that first kiss at the party, where they had everything down to the shoe thing and the lovely awkwardness, or that scene when dripping Nick suddenly appears infront of Charlie’s door… 🤩 And Tao, Elle, Tara, Darcy, and Tori were perfect, too! 😊 (In fact, maybe I really should get to Solitaire soon so I can have more Tori in my life… 🤔) And I also loved the addition of Imogen and Isaac as characters! I can’t pretend I wasn’t kind of annoyed by Imogen at first, but after the way she handled that rejection and stoof up for Nick, I immediately loved her! And half of me watching this series was basically just analyzing the books Isaac was reading and relating to everything his character did 😁

    In general, I just thought they brought everything together so wonderfully, and I’m glad they brought Alice Oseman in and listened to so much of her input! It definitely shows! 🥰 (Also, can we talk about that really cool train cameo and how they snuck Alice’s books onto Charlie’s shelves?! 🤗 That’s basically the cool authordom everyone aspires to have! 🤩)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we are soulmates, because I was watching Heartstopper instead of finishing my assignments because… priorities, right? 😂

      And yepyep, I totally agree that this might be one of the best book-to-film adaptations I’ve seen, it was simply sooooooo good. You can definitely tell Alice Oseman was involved and that they were making a queer show for queer people from the heart 💕 Everything about it was perfect and it made me feel everything that I was supposed to. Also, I’ve been thinking about rereading Solitaire because I remember next to nothing and I want more Tori in my life!! I was also definitely annoyed at Imogen at first, but she grew on me and I loved that Nick could have a friend like her, I hope we see more of this friendship in season 2 🙏 And yeah, Isaac was simply iconic. When he flipped the Monopoly board I laughed so hard. He was such a joyful character, I WANT MORE!

      I screamed at that cameo!! And then Alice posted on twitter that they were drawing Joe and Kit during that scene, which I just think is beyond adorable 🥰

      Honestly, I’ve been babbling about this show nonstop to anyone who will listen for the past few days, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly – priorities are important! 😇😂

        And yes to more Nick-Imogen friendship and monopoly-board-flipping! 🤗 Having to wait for the next season is already killing me! 😫 But I suppose I can just use Heartstopper/Loveless/Radio Silence rereads to bridge the gap, and finally get caught up with Alice’s other books, too… 🥰

        And OMG, twitterless me didn’t even know that! That makes that whole cameo even more iconic!

        But yeah, I’ve also been babbling nonstop (Can you tell? 😅), so I guess I should count myself lucky that I have friends who are just as obsessed with the series as I am and are willing to listen to me… 😁 (Though maybe that’s just because I haven’t yet been able to go into full-on babbling mode because the work I neglected has certainly been catching up to me 🙈)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I absolutely adore Heartstopper – I’m currently rewatching the show, which I’ve never done before. There are only a few shows I’ve rewatched, and all of them I rewatched more than a year after my first watch. Heartstopper, though.. I simply had to start rewatching it right after I finished my first watch. I was really excited for the show, especially after the trailer was released, so I ended up reading the webcomics in less than two days, in an attempt to prepare for the show. After I finished them, I watched the show in two days and I honestly loved every moment of it! I’ll admit that I was a bit worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations as I’m obviously older than the target audience, but I adored it from the very first scene. 🥰

    I loved reading your breakdown of the characters – who were SO INCREDIBLE, oh my god.. not only were the characters so lovable but the actors were cast perfectly AND they did an incredible job. I didn’t know Alice Oseman confirmed that Isaac is aro/ace – that makes me SO HAPPY. 🥰 Honestly, I’ll cry if Netflix cancels this show as it means so much to me and is such a delight to watch. Really great post, Maria!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This show has been recieving so much love, it must be renewed!! I’m really glad you enjoyed it so much and that you read the comics and liked them too! They’re definitely comfort reads and now a comfort show! I also rarely rewatch, so I feel you heh.

      And yes! Alice confirmed Isaac was aroace, so I hope we get to explore that next season 💕

      Like

  8. *me reading this post about to rewatch heartstopper for the third time:*

    i love how you touched on the characters first. i was re-reading the comics myself and shocked at how great the casting for harry was. like, he looked EXACTLY like the one from the comics. it was quite scary lol. and the actor who played sebastian did a fantastic job. i definitely wanted to punch him sometimes lol

    i also really liked imogen! she was a bit annoying, but i really loved the scene that her and nick share in the park. isaac was also a sweet addition to the series and while he basically has no lines, i related a lot to his presence hahah.

    personally, i love tao so much and i think he is the most relatable character in the series for me: he’s scared of changes and is an over-protective friend. nonetheless, i love how every character had the support they needed, even tao! seeing elle being there for him when he was feeling alone and insecure was so great to see! i love how all these characters, even when going through hard things, never have to face them on their own.

    (i also totally cried during the dara/tarcy kiss in the party. especially seeing nick watching them!) the show is sososo cute and i really hope netflix doesn’t let us down and renews it for a season two!

    Liked by 2 people

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