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Harold Button

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Harold Button
Biographical Information
Occupation

Retired

Physical Description
Gender

Male

Hair colour

Gray

Magical ability
Beings summoned

Unnamed succubus
Unnamed marid

Behind the scenes
Appearances

Ptolemy's Gate

Harold Button was a minor character who appeared in the third book of the Trilogy, Ptolemy's Gate. He was instrumental in allowing Kathleen Jones to learn the basic tenets of magic, thus giving her the ability to summon spirits such as Bartimaeus.

Appearance Edit

Button pays little attention to the state of his clothing, preferring to wear casual and loose-fitting clothes. When Kathleen Jones first saw him, she was, in fact, disconcerted by how little he seemed to care about the formality of his dress.

He is described as a "small and fragile man, bright-eyed, thin-faced, with a disordered mop of straight gray hair hanging low over his forehead."

Biography Edit

Formerly working as a librarian at the London Library, Button retired from service after an accident with a marid that cost him his leg. Afterwards, he spent his days mainly studying or writing, an act that, according to Mr. Hyrnek, branded him an "incurable eccentric" among his fellow magicians.

An unknown amount of time after the incident, Button accepted one Lizzie Temple into service as an assistant, as he was growing too old to retrieve books without significant effort. Unknown to him, Temple was actually Kathleen Jones under a pseudonym.

The two began to develop a rapport. Button relied on Lizzie to fetch him books and related materials from around the house and the Library, repaying her with pieces of knowledge about the general principles of magic, and, more importantly, summoning. At some point, Button began to allow Lizzie to draw pentacles and arrange candles for him, as his lost leg made summoning a difficult and arduous process. Soon Lizzie was summoning beings such as foliots and even minor djinn, while he could recline and ask the beings questions. In this way, Lizzie (or Kathleen) learned the basics of summoning—a skill she would soon use to summon the djinni Bartimaeus.

After the failed rebellion led by Nouda and his fellow spirits, Harold Button gained a seat on the New Interim Council.

Personality Edit

Even to one as hardened towards magicians such as Kathleen Jones, Button appears "garrulous and affable". He seems to share a love of knowledge akin to that of Ptolemy's, as he uses his ability to summon beings as powerful as marids for nothing more than information. Harold makes no attempt to rise up within the ranks of the magicians, and in fact seems to display disdain for his colleagues' arrogance and selfishness. He is the polar opposite of an average magician, seemingly regarding commoners as near-equals.

He is, however, prone to laziness.

Magical Ability Edit

"A marid? But aren’t they the most—?”

“The most powerful type of commonly summoned demon. Correct.” Mr. Button’s smile was slightly smug. “I’m no slouch, my dear.
"
—Harold Button to Kathleen Jones during their first meeting.

Harold Button is described as "skilled enough", though it is unclear to what extent this skill remains after the loss of his leg. Certainly he retains the basic skill set of the magician, capable of drawing pentacles as well as summoning and restraining beings. However, the fact that he is willing to allow a commoner (Kathleen Jones, whom he knew as Lizzie Temple) to learn and execute this act for him would imply that summoning is no longer quite as easy as it would be for the average magician.

Before the loss of his leg, however, he was able to summon and survive an encounter with a marid, which would imply a degree of mental strength and control not common among most magicians.

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