Being Lily’s older brother, and since Lily is so attached to her siblings, William is obviously a rather central character. Although young, only twelve years old, he has already shouldered much burdens which would normally never be given to someone his age. Living in the heart of New York City in the early twentieth century, he has to provide for his little family, try to find work, and stay alive, all at the same time.
He is the “man of the house” and feels pressured to fill those shoes which only an adult truly could, but this does not make him some serious, stern, grown-up child. Instead, he has rather successfully retained a cheerful, happy-go-lucky, even mischievous attitude, constantly thinking of witty phrases or sarcastic comments. Unfortunately, though, his sunny personality is hampered by his responsibilities, and often he argues with his older sister, Magdalen. It is only in situations where there is not so much pressure on him that his true personality comes out. Although sometimes foolishly blurting out rather stupid things to say, he is not dumb, merely rash and bold. He cannot stand seeing someone bully or mistreat someone he loves, and will stand up for them, no matter who may be abusing them (which sometimes isn’t the smartest thing to do, though certainly brave.)
Overall, William has a likeable, bouncy personality, and has somewhat miraculously managed to keep some of his innocence, and is not mature overly much before his time. He, in short, simply the protecting, loving older brother.