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This website is dedicated to the memory of Jessica Lincoln Smith, a John Marsden fan.
Lost tragically at 26, but never to be forgotten.

Homer Yannos

Character profile for Homer Yannos from the Tomorrow series by John Marsden

Note: As always these are just my opinions and thus subject to change at any time. If you disagree, think I have missed something, or have something to add, please use the link at the bottom of the page to send me a note.

WARNING: Partially blows plot of each and every book
Please don't read on if this concerns you

Reptile, troublemaker, problem, slob, loud mouth, macho, wild, crazy, immature; Homer Yannos is all of those things. He is also; a leader, a thinker, a planner as well as careful, innovative, caring, supportive, brave and indomitable.

In his teenage years Homer Yannos has built a front to hide behind, a front as a disrespectful, insensitive, uncaring guy. It takes a lot to crack that shell, but the first crack does not come from a smashing blow, instead from a refined and delicate girl. Fi gets round his defences and Ellie is stunned by the realisation that she has let one of her best friends trick her for years about who he really is (1). The next blow is smashing, the end of all they know, the destruction of their previous lives, the return from Hell to find disaster. Faced with this, and the group's desperate need; Homer has to drop the pretence of years, discard the stereotype he has hidden behind and show who he really is; a leader with the capacity to inspire, to encourage, to invigorate. He astonishes everyone with his level headed approach, though the wildness in his heart is still there - a wildness he uses to innovate, outthink and surprise. (2)

He saves the group, he gets them going, he inspires, he supports and he encourages.(3) His leadership is complete and unchallenged until the ambush of the ammunition convoy in Buttercup Lane early in "The Dead of the Night" when two blows land. He is discovered to have deceived the group, diminishing his authority and at the same time he learns what it really is like to kill up close and personal, cracking his composure (4) (he very rarely kills directly again - not till "Darkness, Be My Friend" when he rides down the soldier about to shoot Ellie and Fi) But he has done what was needed. Robyn and Ellie are hitting their stride and the group can now survive without his pushing them on and on.

Homer has a very forceful, even domineering, personality and while he despises weakness he also has a lot of trouble dealing with others who also have strong characters.(5) One of the constants of Homer's life is his competition with his best friend, Ellie. They compete continually and have done so all their lives.(6) At the same time, Ellie really is the best friend he has in the world, someone who respects and admires him, a respect and admiration that he returns.(7) While they compete, continually and hard, when one or the other reaches the end of their tether, the facade of competition is dropped and they reach out to help each other.(8)

Hiding behind a shell has its costs. Homer has built his life around being a guys guy and doesn't have a clue about how to treat Fi. He is terribly insecure and manages to make a hash of their relationship.(9) During the initial crisis Homer shows how he feels(10) but from the time that has passed until near the end Homer internalises his problems and we only get an occasional glimpse of what is happening for him(11). At the same time this toughness helps the others cope.

Homer two dramatically different sides to his personality and they pull him in different directions. On one hand he is a wild and crazy guy and on the other a careful, thoughtful planner. His planning is responsible for the groups survival in "Tomorrow, When The War Began" and his wildness for its near destruction in "The Other Side Of Dawn".

Following the confrontation with Ellie about taking a gun to Buttercup Lane and again about keeping score of kills, Homer starts to mature. He eventually admits he was mistaken about taking the gun and then, when preparing to attack Cobbler's Bay, he shows such good sense that Ellie is relieved.(12)

Then comes the actual attack on Cobbler's and its aftermath. For the first time Homer is pushed past his limits. In the water he gives us and waits to die, only being saved by the explosion of the ship, then he is quickly captured by the three soldiers and saved by Ellie arriving suddenly and killing them all single handed. These experiences crush him, and the others take the lead. He is a mess from then till they are captured (13)

In New Zealand Homer has to confront this, plus the other great blows of Stratton Prison and Robyn's sacrifice. They are all affected by these two events, but for Homer, who had taken a dislike to Robyn, to then have her give her life to save his must have been devastating. His response is to revert to the wild and crazy guy and, when the question comes, he decides for the group that they will return to Australia.(14)

By the end of "Darkness, Be My Friend" Homer seems to have recovered but the contest is over. Ellie is now the leader of the group, generating ideas, Homer is now more supporting and encouraging her.

The stresses are starting to take their toll though, particularly in "The Night is For Hunting" and the start of "The Other Side of Dawn". Homer starts to break.(15) He has shown an extraordinary resilience in the face of a series of terrible challenges, but no-one can take this sort of stress for ever and Homer starts to lose contact with reality. He still has flashes of extraordinary good sense and resilience (16) but the careful, considered planner is fading away and the wild and crazy guy gains the upper hand (Compare Homer planning the attack on the bridge to his last plan for the power station, or the motor cycle patrols or the truck stop). With Ellie having also cracked and her restraining influence thus gone, Homer's plan for the truck stop, and its failings, directly leads to the loss of Ellie.

Losing Ellie - his best and oldest friend - and the way she was lost must have been crushing for him. It was his bad planning that got them into this mess, it was Ellie's self sacrificing diversion that saved them. Now she is gone, likely dead, and realising that is likely the worst moment in Homer life. The last totally crazy plan for the attack on the power station may have been the result of this. The plan is so bad you have to wonder if he wanted to die. Similarly, finding out that Ellie had survived was likely the best moment he had ever experienced.

Rest, a lack of stress and plenty of affirmation are the primary cure for Combat Fatigue. As with the rest of the crew, the remarkable, loyal, brave Homer; who saved them all at the start, who kept them going, who inspired, who lead, who enlivened, who struggled till the end; this very accomplished young man is in desperate need of all of the above by the end of "The Other Side of Dawn".

Supporting Extracts - Used with permission

There is some good stuff in here, have a browse.


Extract 1: Ellie realises she has let Homer trick her for years as to who he is.

"Tomorrow, When The War Began" p44
     "It was the same with Homer, the way for all those years he'd been hanging a big sign around his neck, and like a fool I'd kept reading it."


Extract 2: Homer's transformation

"Tomorrow, When The War Began" p104
     "Homer was becoming more surprising with every passing hour. It was getting hard to remember that this fast-thinking guy, who'd just spent fifteen minutes getting us laughing and talking and feeling good again, wasn't even trusted to hand out the books at school"

"Tomorrow, When The War Began" p111
     [Homer] "He leaned forward. 'Here's what I suggest. They load Corrie's Toyota with everything useful they can find. Then they go to Kevin's and do the same. And to my place and Ellie's if there's time. They pick up the Land Rover at Kevin's and fill it too. I'm talking food, clothes, petrol, rifles, tools, everything. By dawn we want to have two vehicles fuelled up, packed to their roofs and ready to go'
     'To go where?' Kevin asked.
     'To Hell' Homer answered.
     That was Homer's genius. He combined action with thought, and he planned ahead. He sensed, I think, that inaction was our enemy. Anyone seeing us at that moment would not have thought we were in the most desperate positions of our lives. We were all sitting up excitedly, faces flushed and eyes gleaming. We had things to do, positive definite things. It suddenly seemed so obvious that if we had a future, it would be in Hell. And we began to realise that there might still be a life for us."

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" p138
     [Homer]"'Problem two then. Where would we get it?'
     Robyn interrupted. I'd forgotten she hadn't seen Homer in action at Corrie's.
     ' Homer, are you on something?'
     ' Sorry?'
     ' You keep going like this, you'll lose your reputation, Aren't you meant to be just a wild and crazy guy?'
     He laughed, but then went straight back to being serious. Robyn made a face at me and I winked back"

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" p152
     "Lee laughed. 'Homer hasn't changed.'
     'Yes he has.'
     'Has he? I'll be interested to see that. He's a pretty smart guy, Homer'"

"Tomorrow, When the War Began" p140
     "Homer looked at me, eyes shining with joy. I realised the wild and crazy guy wasn't so far away. 'We pick him up in the shovel,' he said, and waited for our reactions."

Pretty surprising guy, Homer.


Extract 3: Thinking, supporting, encouraging, inspiring

"The Dead of the Night", p3
"… once again I'd underestimated Homer. He did so much thinking - not that he ever said so himself, but it was obvious from the way he spoke in our meetings. There'd been a time when a thinking Homer would have seemed as likely as a flying platypus, and I was kind of slow adjusting to the change. But from his words that day, when we gathered again at the creek, it was obvious that he hadn't stayed in a slump like some of us.
… [they react to his words, p9] …
     To anyone watching (I hope there wasn't anyone) it must have resembled an outdoors ballet class. We all began to slowly unfurl and turn towards Homer. Lee dropped his piece of wood. Chris put down his pad and pen and stretched out. I stood and moved to a higher rock. Find Kevin and Corrie? Of course. The idea infused us with hope and excitement and boldness. None of us had thought anything about it because it seemed impossible. But Homer's saying it had brought it within the realms of possibility, till suddenly it seemed like the only thing to do. In fact, his saying it made it seem so possible that it was almost as if it had happened already. That was the power of the spoken word. Homer had put us back on our feet and got us dancing again. Words began to pour from all of us."


Extract 4: Homer at Buttercup Lane.

He never really gets over what happens here.

"The Dead of the Night", p57
"I ripped Homer's shirt open and felt around his chest and shoulders but I couldn't find any wound.
     'No, no' he said, pushing me away. 'I'm not hurt.'
     'What happened? I shouted at him. I was completely bewildered. 'Did you grab their guns?'
     He shook his head and waved his arms around. He didn't seem to be able to answer. But Chris, who was trembling but becoming suddenly and amazingly calm, answered for him. 'Homer had a shotgun in his pack,' he said. 'Sawn-off.'
     Fi gasped. We all looked at Homer in shock. We'd talked about our meager little stock of weapons a few times and agreed that with such limited firepower we were better off with nothing. We knew if we were caught with weapons on us we were gone, one hundred per cent certain.
     A willy-willy of feeling stormed up inside me - anger, confusion, disbelief."

I did't really noticed for quite a while, but Macho, 'the Man' Homer is not a "up close and personal" killer. He never really gets over Buttercup Lane, unlike Ellie.


Extract 5: Homer's dominating personality

"The Dead of the Night", p91
     "I've always had this feeling with Homer that I must never back off or it'll be the end of me. He's so strong and he intimidates so many people, and then I think he despises them because they're too weak to stand up to him. So I always stand up to him, and I did it again this time."

"The Third Day, The Frost" p32
     "I was shocked at anyone criticising Robyn. She was one of my role models - along with Marilyn Monroe and Emily Dickinson. But Homer always had trouble getting on with strong-minded people. Except me. No, even sometimes me."

"The Third Day, The Frost" p30
Ellie about Homer "… I'd been finding him suffocating in recent months … Wherever there was Homer there wasn't room for much else…"


Extract 6: Homer and Ellie competing

"The Dead of the Night", p222
"I couldn't help a little nasty thought, which had stuck in my mind like worm, that maybe the reason Homer had been so adamant about doing the first day was Robyn's comment that I was the bravest of our group. Homer wouldn't have liked that. In his thinking , guys were always the heroes, always that little bit better than girls"

"The Third Day, the Frost", p54
"Eventually I was the one who got everyone moving again. … I never liked it when Homer took command too much or for too long. I always had to assert myself when that happened. It's always been that way, even when we were little kids."

"Darkness, Be My Friend", p16
"'Where going back,' he said.
     That's Homer. If you want to understand Homer, and sometimes I don't know why you'd bother, those three words tell you everything you need to know. 'We're going back.' Even as I write them again now I can feel myself starting to scowl and grind my teeth. The thing about Homer is that he'd known exactly how angry it'd make me when he said that, but he couldn't stop himself. He'd say it to prove to himself that he was the Man, no one was going to tell him what to do. And of course the 'no one' he was worried about was me. All our lives we'd been competing. Even now, at this critical moment, he wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of letting me think I had any say."


Extract 7: But Homer and Ellie share a great respect for each other

"The Dead of the Night", p218
"I gave him a wink and felt for his hand, getting a good grip on it. I was now touching the two boys I loved most in the world, and I thought how lucky I was"

"The Night is for Hunting" p134
"I needed to hear what I guy thought, and the guy I respected most in the world, outside my father, was Homer. ... I was grateful to Homer. I found myself getting quite sentimental about him. Once again he had proved himself to be a true friend."

"Darkness, Be My Friend", p268
"'Lucky you're such a bully, Ellie, because we were stuffed. If we'd tried to come the direct way, like we would have if you hadn't driven us along, we might have walked into those soldiers. They were smart. I reckon they'd have been sniffing around a lot longer than some of the idiots we've seen in action in the past. But last night I wasn't thinking of that. I was just cursing you for nipping at our heels all the way here.'
     Homer said all this while casually tipping Twisties into his mouth but I sat there burning with pleasure. Homer simply didn't pay people compliments. If God appeared in front of us Homer would say, 'Listen mate, you've done a lousy job on my belly button. And what do what'd you give us toenails for? I mean what's the good of them? They're a bloody nuisance.'


Extract 8: And every so often they drop the games

"Tomorrow, When the War Began", p62
     "Homer nodded, his face full of misery. I wanted to hug him, looked for Fi to see if she might be going to, then went ahead when I realised she'd left the room again."

"Tomorrow, When The War Began" p94
     "I stopped in front of the Mackenzies' porch and stood there, trying to find the energy to lift my foot and get off the bike. I stood there for a long time. I knew eventually I'd have to raise that leg but I didn't know when I would be able to do it. Finally Homer said kindly, 'Come on Ellie', and I was ashamed of my weakness and managed to stumble off the bike and even wheel it into the shed."

"The Third Day, the Frost", p54
     "Grimly, hating them all. I shouldered my pack.
     'Not yet, Ellie,' Homer said gently. 'It's still too early'"

"The Third Day, the Frost", p58
     "When we stopped I was too tired to feel any relief, to tired to feel anything. I stood there waiting to be told what to do. … After a few minutes Homer came out of the darkness and reached for my hand. I gave him the wet cold heavy thing. It must have been like picking up a dead fish. 'Come on, Ellie, old mate,' he said wearily. I let myself be lead like a helpless child"

"Darkness, Be My Friend" p267
     "I grinned. Didn't matter what mood I was in, Homer could always make me laugh. It occurred to me that maybe that was why he'd come into the entrance hall, because he sensed that I was depressed and needed cheering up. It wouldn't be the first time. I hated to accuse Homer of being warm sensitive guy, but deep down inside he did have a trace of it at times.
     Only a little trace mind you."


Extract 9: Homer is, however, a guy's guy

"Tomorrow, When The War Began", p213
     "'He so down on himself,' she complained. 'Everything I say about him he brushes off or puts himself down. Do you know', she looked at me with her big innocent eyes, 'he's got some weird thing about my parents being solicitors, and living in that stupid big house. He always used to joke about it, especially when we went there the other night, but I don't think it's really a joke to him at all.'
     'Oh Fi! How long did it take you to work that out?'
     'Why? Has he said something to you?' She instantly became terribly worried, in her typical Fi way. I was a bit caught, because I wanted to protect Homer and I didn't want to break any confidences. So I tried to give a few hints.
     'Well, your lifestyle's a lot different to his. And you know the kind of blokes he's always knocked around with at school. They'd be more at home hanging out at the milk bar than playing croquet with your parents.'
     'My parents do not play croquet.'
     'No, but you know what I mean.'
     'Oh, I don't know what to do. He seems scared to say anything in case I laughed at him or look down my nose at him. As if I ever would. It seems so funny that he's like that with me when he's so confident with everyone else.'
     I sighed. 'If I could understand Homer I'd understand all guys.'"

"The Dead of the Night", p95, Fi about Homer.
     "'He's so difficult. Some days he's so loving and beautiful and other days he treats me like I don't exist. Its very frustrating'"


Extract 10: Initially Homer is shows how he feels

"Tomorrow, When The War Began" , p241
     "'No, it's a big problem. None of us knows how we'll react when the fan gets hit. I know what it's been like for me so far, just doing little things, like waiting in that car in Three Pigs Lane. My teeth were chattering so bad I had to hold my mouth shut to keep them in. I don't know how I didn't vomit. I was absolutely convinced I was going to die.'"

"Tomorrow, When The War Began" , p278
     "The only thing Homer had left out was the way he'd wept when he found us both safe. I saw the sweetness of Homer then, that he'd had as a little guy, but which some people probably thought he'd lost as a teenager."


Extract 11: But not for long. He keeps feeling but hides it.

"The Third Day, the Frost", p123 when the container truck is lifted by the tow truck
     "And suddenly the container moved. Even though I'd been half expecting it, I took a grip on Homer's arm so tight that I felt the bone. The container gave a quick lurch, then started moving … A container of diesel not restrained by the fertiliser slid slowly down hill … I grabbed it … Homer grabbed me and I realised on the fear scale we were rating about the same figure."

Then a few pages later (p125) as the container is hoisted onto the ship.
     "A thump on the roof … I jumped up in panic, choking back a scream … I looked for Homer … He too was standing with equal anxiety, looking up … [they are lifted up] … I gazed at Homer. I saw the gleam of his teeth as he smiled at me but even in the little light we had I could tell his smile was forced, probably to stop his teeth chattering."

"Burning For Revenge", p37 - 39 when they are surprised at the tip
     "It had been such an innocent situation, but suddenly we were completely trapped. A drop of liquid fell on me: it was Homer's sweat. It felt hot. I couldn't do anything about it; it didn't matter anyway."

     "I felt Homer move, but he still didn't say anything. His sweat rained down on me".

"Burning For Revenge", p52 Homer looks out at the building they are in and realises they are on Wirrawee Airfield
     "He looked shocked. He started at me without saying anything. It was hard to tell in the dim light but I actually thought he looked pale, which is not easy for Homer, being Greek and all."


Extract 12: Homer does mature, though it takes a while

"The Dead of the Night", p218
     "'I was wrong about those guns,' Homer said. 'I shouldn't have had them with me without you guys knowing, that was dumb.'
     Homer was quite red in the face and looking over our heads. It was so rare for him to admit he was wrong about anything that I bit back the joke I was going to make."

"The Third Day, The Frost", p115/116
     "'But we haven't got time to sneak along in the bush.' Fi said. 'It'll be light soon.'
'We have to', Homer said. 'Don't forget, this raid is a chance in a million. If anything goes wrong we can call it off, no harm done, no need to feel bad. It's much too big for us, anyway. I think we should put our own safety higher than going on with this.'
I was really staggered. I'm sure Homer wasn't scared. His voice was steady and strong. I think he'd just weighed the risks and made a scientific judgment. For hot-headed Homer this was very cool. Something about it pleased me a lot, though, and not only the fact that it slightly increased my chances of staying alive. I think it was the hope that maybe Homer no longer felt a great macho need to prove himself by leaping wildly into action at every opportunity."


Extract 13: Cobbler's Bay just about wrecks him, though

"The Third Day, The Frost", p206
"Homer was still the quietest but he did say a few things, each of them making me realise how much the time in the container and the escape across the Bay, into the arms of the enemy, had affected him. I remember hoping desperately that he wouldn't get caught again, because I didn't think he would be able to stand it. It had really fazed him, the swim, then being grabbed by those guys at the creek. It had damaged his confidence.
     'I'd given up,' he said, when I asked him about the time in the water.
     'You'd given up?' I said, shocked.
     'They'd seen me, and I was too tired to dive anymore.'
     'Who'd seen you?'
     'The guys in the boat, and the ones in the chopper.'
     'So what happened? Were they shooting at you? How'd you get away? You hadn't really given up?'
     He shrugged. 'I was just floating there, watching them come for me. Then the ship blew up.'
     He wouldn't say much more."


Extract 14: Reverting to the wild and crazy competitive guy.

"Darkness, Be My Friend", p16
     "'Where going back,' he said.
     That's Homer. If you want to understand Homer, and sometimes I don't know why you'd bother, those three words tell you everything you need to know. 'We're going back.' Even as I write them again now I can feel myself starting to scowl and grind my teeth. The thing about Homer is that he'd known exactly how angry it'd make me when he said that, but he couldn't stop himself. He'd say it to prove to himself that he was the Man, no one was going to tell him what to do. And of course the 'no one' he was worried about was me. All our lives we'd been competing. Even now, at this critical moment, he wasn't going to give me the satisfaction of letting me think I had any say."

"Darkness, Be My Friend", p52
     "'What about Homer? Why don't they want to ask him?'
     Again Fi paused, searching for the right words.

     'I think they got the idea back in New Zealand that he was a bit irresponsible. Too much partying.'"


Extract 15: Eventually, Homer starts to come apart

"The Other Side of Dawn" p16 as Homer comes back from looking at the patrol about to abseil into Hell
     "I sneaked up the hill and met Homer behind a boulder. When I put my hand on his forearm I felt he had a thousand volts running through him. If we'd wired him up to the Wirrawee electricity grid they could have turned on the streetlights and still had enough left over to heat the pool.
     He was panting, then he added: 'God, I can't take much more of this.'"


Extract 16: Homer's last good idea

"The Other Side of Dawn" p24. About the soldier who is loose in Hell
     "Homer came to join us. 'Leave him,' he said briskly. I was about to interrupt, to protest strongly, but Homer went straight on.
     'He hasn't got a rifle. We could waste a week looking and still not find him. We'd be better off to get Fi and the ferals and join up with Kevin and Ryan again. In the long term that's the only way to go.'
     As so often happened, Homer had seen the problem clearly and figured out the solution. Well, maybe not the solution, but the best plan."














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