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|Behind the scenes|
Nathaniel (born in 1988, chosen name John Mandrake) is one of three main protagonists in the Bartimaeus Trilogy. He changes drastically throughout the books, going from an innocent child, to an arrogant magician, and finally to a selfless young man, sacrificing himself for the rest of London. In Ptolemy's Gate, Nathaniel is said to be, with perhaps the exception of Jessica Whitwell, the most powerful magician in all of London.
Nathaniel was born to unknown parents, and then, at age five, sent to live with the middle class magician Arthur Underwood as part of a government program.
At the age of 12, Nathaniel summoned the spirit, Bartimaeus, to do his bidding for him. Initially, he was very afraid, due to knowing the djinni's background, but also due to his appearance. After confirming Bartimaeus' identity, Nathaniel charged him with obtaining the Amulet of Samarkand from the house of Simon Lovelace. Although the djinni was skeptical at first, he eventually left, before Nathaniel could inflict the Systemic Vise on him. Later, they saved the Prime Minister and other members of the parlament when Simon Lovelace summoned Ramuthra to kill them.
Later, when Nathaniel was seventeen, he was landed in the middle of Quentin Makepeace's scheme, and summoned his djinn, Bartimaeus, into his body (unwillingly, it was Kitty who convinced him to do so) and acquired Gladstone's staff. He slew Nouda and the other demon-human hybrids, but died in the process. The Glass Palace collapsed on him. Even at the very end, he gave Bartimaeus his freedom.
Nathaniel is descibed as pale, thin, and dark haired, wearing a suit in all but the first book. In The Golem's Eye, he wears, in Bartimaeus' words, a "flouncy red hankerchief", extremely tight trousers, and his hair long. At this point in his life, Nathaniel is described as very aesthetically concerned, which is consistent with the materialistic society of magicians around him.
In contrast, in Ptolemy's Gate he has his hair cut short (as a nod to the soldiers fighting in the current war) and no tie. He turns out to be just like all the arrogant magicians that Bartimaeus had worked for in his 2000 year-old lifetime.