|Books character||TV character|
Chrisjen Avasarala is the Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration of the United Nations. She is one of the individuals who have reached the highest position in the UN government that is obtainable without being elected as so.
Avasarala is seen as one of the most influential people in the whole system, wielding power just below that of the Secretary-General and his immediate deputy, the Undersecretary of Executive Administration.
In practical truth, however, through careful manipulation, she is the effective head of the United Nations.
A master politician and maneuverer, she achieved one of the highest ranks in UN government without ever standing for election. She manipulates those in the highest seats of power through careful cultivation of relationships with the spouses, friends, and staff nearest to them.
Chrisjen belongs to a longstanding political dynasty on Earth, dating back to the early days of planetary exploration and colonization. Martian separatists assassinated her father during a period of social unrest. Her son, a Marine, died in the line of duty while defending Earth from Belter revolutionaries.
Throughout the series
In "Dulcinea", Chrisjen is seen torturing a suspected Outer Planets Alliance operative, Heikki Sabong, for intelligence on the OPA’s smuggling of revolutionary stealth technology, as a result of political unrest growing in the Belt, and thus a threat to the UN’s holdings there.
In "The Big Empty", after interrogating (torturing) the Belter smuggler, Avasarala comes to the conclusion that the Mars is feeding the OPA stealth technology. This would indicate that the MCR is trying to arm the OPA to fight for Belter independence, thus destabilizing the region and compromising Earth’s control of the Asteroid Belt and the resources from it, which Earth depends on.
In "Remember the Cant", in order to find out if Mars’ stealth ships were used to destroy the Canterbury, Avasarala lies to her friend Franklin DeGraaf, the UN's ambassador to Mars, that Earth has proof Mars is guilty. By monitoring her friend to see if the ships are missing, it indicates to her that Mars is innocent. She realizes whoever blew up the Canterbury intends on starting an interplanetary war by making everyone think the Martian government is responsible of the attack.
In "Rock Bottom", Avasarala starts to suspect that traitor, Fred Johnson, may be the person that blew up the Canterbury as a power play by the Outer Planets Alliance. She blackmails a colleague into identifying an operative to spy on Fred on Tycho. It is then revealed that the OPA is responsible for her son's premature death.
In "Windmills", with the knowledge from her spy that Holden and crew have left Tycho on a fighter ship, Avasarala goes to Holden’s mother, Elise, to learn what she can about him. She surmises that Holden is a kindhearted child caught up in a bad situation, and not allied with whomever is trying to start a war. Her boss, Undersecretary Errinwright, reveals he had sent a Black Ops team to kill Holden.
In "Salvage", Avasarala warns Errinwright that the Black Ops team he had sent to retrieve Holden must leave Holden alive, or he will be a martyr that will give fuel to an Outer Planets Alliance uprising, but Errinwright has plans of his own. Avasarala receives bad news: her friend DeGraaf, whom she betrayed in order to test Mars’ involvement with stealth ships, has reportedly committed suicide.
In "Leviathan Wakes", Avasarala visits the home of her recently deceased friend, DeGraaf, the Martian ambassador she tricked in "Remember the Cant". She surreptitiously searches his files and discovers that he was researching the whereabouts of missing stealth gunships, built on Earth, with drives like those that destroyed the Canterbury and the Donnager. Soon thereafter, Fred Johnson publicly broadcasts his evidence that the Donnager was destroyed by stealth ships built on Earth. DeGraaf’s death may not have been a suicide, and his blood may not be on her hands, after all. Undersecretary Errinwright tells Avasarala that said ships were privately commissioned on Earth, and smuggled to Fred. Chrisjen realizes Errinwright is lying and is somehow involved in the Canterbury’s destruction and the attempts to start a war.
In "Safe", with the knowledge that undersecretary Errinwright and industrialist Jules-Pierre Mao are somehow involved with the efforts to start a system-wide war, Chrisjen Avasarala plays the role of the dutiful Earth politician to gather intelligence on the matter. When a dilapidated science center on the Saturnian moon Phoebe goes dark, Mars and Earth blame each other and prepare for war.
In "Static", after the UN destroys the Martian moon of Deimos as retaliation against Mars’ perceived role in the destruction of Phoebe station, Avasarala fears war is imminent, and sends a secret message to Fred Johnson, believing he could help uncover the conspiracy behind the acts of aggression.
In "Godspeed", Avasarala receives a message back from Fred Johnson with coordinates to a stealth ship with casualties on board. The ship can can be traced back to a company owned by Jules-Pierre Mao, whom Avasarala knows to be involved in the larger conspiracy to cause a Earth/Mars war. It can also link Mao to the stealth ships used to start the conflict between Earth and Mars. She leaks the information, but Mao plays dumb when confronted.
In "Home", the news that Eros is traveling for a collision course with Earth ignites a frenzy of panic among the populace. Projections for loss of life range from disastrous to catastrophic. With no way to track the massive asteroid hurtling towards Earth, Avasarala urges the UN Security Council to hand off control of a horde of nuclear missiles to Fred Johnson who, through the crew of the Rocinante, has eyes on the asteroid.
In "Paradigm Shift", Avasarala consults with an old friend and scientist, Dr. Iturbi. He is convinced that the Eros incident was the result of extraterrestrial phenomena. Iturbi convinces Avasarala to grant him assignment to Arboghast and access to Venus, where Eros crashed. In return, he will be her unfiltered eyes and ears on site. Avasarala confronts Errinwright about his involvement with Jules-Pierre Mao. Having pieced together that Mao is connected to the incident on Eros, Avasarala gives Errinwright a message to deliver to Jules: Give her all the information he has on Eros, or she will destroy his family and empire.
In "The Seventh Man", as the conflict on Ganymede resulted in over 3,000 dead with more injured and while the UN is taking the news as a war cry from Mars, Avasarala sees this as an opportunity to call a ceasefire and she petitions the Prime Minister to call a peace summit on Earth. Not only will this deescalate the growing conflict, but it will give Mars an easy out to a war they know they cannot win.
In "The Weeping Somnambulist", Avasarala and Errinwright discuss the Arboghast’s mission on Venus. Afterwards, Avasarala enters into the peace summit with Mars. The talks get off to a rocky start but settle quickly when Bobbie gives her testimony about what happened on Ganymede. The Martian marine's team plays the scapegoat and, thus, avoids war but, Avasarala senses that something else is going on so she requests more time with Bobbie. Bobbie lets it slip that a “something” with no vacuum suit attacked them, but quickly gets back on script.
In "Cascade", Avasarala's suspicions about Errinwright's role in the larger protomolecule conspiracy are confirmed. She finally confronts him about the staged suicide of her old friend Franklin DeGraaf. Hopeful that Errinwright can yet redeem himself, she decides not to go public with his role in the conspiracy just yet. Avasarala is still not convinced of Bobbie’s testimony and her claim that her unit was responsible for the incident on Ganymede. The MCR appears to be using the peace talks as a smokescreen for some ulterior purposes. Avasarala knows she needs to get more information from Bobbie. She finds Bobbie getting her first look at the ocean, and tries to derive the truth from her but Bobbie is still reeling from her experience at the UN.
In "Here There Be Dragons", Avasarala warns Errinwright that when the Eros post mortem begins, the UN government will use him as their scapegoat because of his collusion with Jules-Pierre Mao. Avasarala suggests it would be the prefect moment for him to atone for his sins. Soon after, she receives a message from Jules-Pierre Mao requesting her attendance aboard one of his ships to negotiate. Her associate Cotyar believes it to be a trap, but Avasarala accepts the invitation regardless. After Bobbie has a falling out with her superiors, she requests asylum on Earth and tells Avasarala everything she knows: the MCR was using her crew and Ganymede as a testing ground for a new weapon involving the protomolecule.
In "The Monster and the Rocket", Avasarala departs Earth for Jules-Pierre Mao’s ship, the Guanshiyin, with Bobbie and Cotyar serving as her muscle. Aboard Jules’ luxurious ship, Avasarala and the business magnate discuss the terms: in exchange for access to the protomolecule technology, Jules wants his family assets freed from UN control. While Mao is still laying out his terms, Errinwright sends a message to Jules-Pierre and Avasarala that the Martian Defense Minister Korshunov has passed away. With Korshunov dead, Errinwright holds all the power to bankroll the protomolecule project. Avasarala is the only one alive that could expose his role, thus Errinwright orders her shuttle to leave her, Bobby, and Cotyar stranded on Mao's ship. There, Mao's men prepare to silence Avasarala and her aids forever.
In "Caliban's War", trapped on the Guanshiyin, Avasarala, along Bobbie and Cotyar, tries to stay alive. Cotyar is bleeding out quickly from the earlier gunfight, but he manages to create a diversion for Bobbie to escape the room and retrieve her Martian armor. Bobbie returns wearing her bulletproof armor and rescues Avasarala and Cotyar.
TBD after the season commences.
Chrisjen belongs to a longstanding political dynasty on Earth, dating back to the early days of planetary exploration and colonization, and takes her role seriously. As a consequence, her family has often been at the forefront of great turmoil throughout the Solar System. Martian separatists assassinated her father during a period of social unrest, while her son, a Marine, died defending Earth from Belter revolutionaries. Despite these personal losses, Avasarala herself remains unfazed in the face of impending peril and will do whatever it takes to defend Earth, which she sees as the cradle of humanity.
Unlike her coworker Sadavir Errinwright, Avasarala is openly distrustful of big corporations and their owners, namely Jules-Pierre Mao, and has no qualms with harming his family and business if it means the survival of Earth. This fear proves accurate when Errinwright and Mao both betray her and try to kill her for planning to expose their conspiracy.
|“||Good. And, please, let them know that if they can't, I will rain hellfire down on them all. I will freeze their assets, cancel their contracts, cripple their business, and I have the power to do it, because I am the fucking hero who helped save Mother Earth from the cataclysm that Jules-Pierre Mao unleashed. Tell his children that the government is more powerful than any corporation, and the only reason they think it tilts the other way is because we, poor, public servants, are always looking for some fat, private-sectors payoff down the road. But I'm not looking. And by the time they can pull the strings to force me out, it'll be too late. Their family will be ruined. Their mother, the children, their children, all of them, pariahs - outlaws! Hunted and on the run for the rest of their days until we find them, and nail each and every last one to the wall. Make sure you tell them that!||”|
|— Avasarala to Errinwright in "Paradigm Shift"|
|“||I have a file with 900 pages of analysis and contingency plans for war with Mars, including 14 different scenarios about what to do if they develop an unexpected new technology. My file for what to do if an advanced alien species comes calling? It's three pages long, and it begins with "Step one: find God".||”|
|— Avasarala to Iturbi in "Paradigm Shift"|
|“||His job is to explain science to politicians. In that regard, it's a useful skill.||”|
|— Avasarala to Iturbi in "Paradigm Shift", referring to Colonel Janus|
|"The Big Empty"||Appears|
|"Remember the Cant"||Appears|
|"Back to the Butcher"||Credit Only|
|"Critical Mass"||Credit Only|
|"Doors & Corners"||Credit Only|
|"The Seventh Man"||Appears|
|"The Weeping Somnambulist"||Appears|
|"Here There Be Dragons"||Appears|
|"The Monster and the Rocket"||Appears|
Notes and trivia
- Avasarala doesn't appear in the books until Caliban's War, but was brought into the first season to add the Earth's political counterpoint earlier in the story. To accomplish this task, plot events were constructed which didn't occur in the Leviathan Wakes timeline.
- Avasarala has been repeatedly established by the fans as the best character of the whole series, winning both SEAFAV2 and NOVFAV1-6 with scores greatly exceeding 9 (9.21 and 9.50, respectively).
- The Expanse's Avasarala Storyline: Everything You Need To Know Friday, March 24, 2017 - 21:21
- 10 Times Avasarala Was Our Everything Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 16:56