Literary Heroes

Harvey Swick

by Tera from Deer Lodge

Harvey Swick (
Harvey Swick (

Harvey Swick is the main character of Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always. In the book, Harvey is a young boy who is absolutely bored with his life. But one day, a magic stranger invites him to Mr. Hood’s Holiday House. The house is supposed to be a fun retreat for children who need a break from their everyday lives. Harvey is excited at the idea of escaping his dull and gray life, trapped in February. He goes to the Hood House (with “permission” from his parents), hidden by a foggy wall, unknown by the outside world.

Harvey is immediately enchanted and amazed at the Hood House. One day in Mr. Hood’s world contains everything a kid could want. All the seasons and holidays all occur in one day. Harvey is hypnotized by the endless meals, lazy days, and lack of school. He loves the small touch of magic that Mr. Hood has in everything, such as the extreme realism of terror on Halloween and getting whatever he wished for on Christmas. Even though Harvey wonders about the whereabouts of Mr. Hood himself, he never actually gets to meet him.

The other kids at the Hood House seem very careless, which exhausts Harvey. They see no reason to answer his questions about the house and Mr. Hood. Harvey becomes suspicious of small things. He notices that Mr. Hood’s magic may be a lot darker and more macabre than it seems at first. Harvey seems to be less impacted by Mr. Hood’s magic after a while. He wonders about Mr. Hood’s intentions, especially after a very frightening Halloween experience when Harvey was turned into a temporary vampire and urged to suck the blood of his friend.

The more Harvey questions the Hood House, the harder it seems to work at making him happy. But Harvey ultimately decides that he should go home to his family. However…Mr. Hood has different ideas…the only thing standing between Harvey and the outside world is a hybrid monster named Karna…the owner of hundreds of teeth and terrifying claws. Harvey barely escapes.

Harvey finds his way home and discovers that 30 years has passed, meaning that one day at the Hood House was a year in the real world. His parents are now old and hardly recognize him. Harvey is outraged at the loss of all the years and decides that he needs to steal them back…

Harvey contains all of the characteristics of a hero. He is brave, loyal, ambitious, honest, selfless, and willing to try. Harvey returns to the Hood House, saves its occupants, defeats Mr. Hood (not in human form) and kills Karna. The reason Harvey is a hero is because he did all of this by thinking outside the box. He didn’t need a sword, he just used his mind. He refused to give up even though he was facing something that wasn’t even human and was much more powerful than him. Harvey used his intelligence and psychological power to match Mr. Hood’s illusions. Mr. Hood even offered to join Harvey to make a powerful alliance because Harvey’s soul “burned brighter than any other.” Of course Harvey refused and destroyed Mr. Hood and saved the house’s prisoners. And the lost years were restored, and Harvey became the ‘thief of always.’

Page created on 6/3/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 6/3/2006 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Clive Barker - The author of 'The Thief of Always'
The Thief of Always - Summary and purchasing information about the book
Clive Barker - Barker's other works