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Name: Chell
Occupation: Test subject
Relationships: GLaDOS (enemy turned ally); Wheatley (ally turned enemy)
Fandom: Portal
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For other people or characters named Chell, see Chell (disambiguation).

Chell is the protagonist of the Portal video game series. She is the player character in Portal and sequel Portal 2, and has also appeared in other media.

This article or section needs expansion.

Fan Community

Reception and Popularity

Fanon and Tropes

One of the common areas of debate revolves around her silence, as there's discussion about whether she's mute, whether (in the second game) she suffers from brain damage after her experiences in cryo-sleep, or whether she's perfectly capable of talking but just stubbornly refuses to give the insane and annoying robots she's surrounded by the satisfaction of a response.[1] Chell does not actually speak during the course of Portal; Valve writer Erik Wolpaw explained that this is because of Chell's annoyance at her situation, choosing not to give her surroundings the satisfaction of a response. Wolpaw further stated that Chell probably can talk.[2] Some fans portray Chell as fully or partially capable of speaking, while others portray her as fully or partially mute/nonverbal.

It was previously speculated that Chell might be Test Subject 234, but this was disproved in the official comic Portal 2: Lab Rat, which stated that Chell was Test Subject 1438, until Doug Rattmann changed her to be Test Subject 1.[3]

The general consensus in the fandom is that GLaDOS took over Aperture on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, based on the in-game comment that BYDtWD "did not end well". Additionally, Chell's name can be found on one of the potato battery projects, leading many fans to believe that she is the daughter of an Aperture employee, captured as a child by GLaDOS on that fateful day. However, the official comic Lab Rat more or less suggests that Chell applied to be a test subject, presumably as an adult, at some point before GLaDOS' takeover.

Some posit that Chell is the (adopted) daughter of Cave Johnson, the founder and CEO of Aperture Science, and/or Caroline, his secretary and successor.[4]

In canon, Chell's last name is shown to have been redacted in Aperture's files for reasons unknown. Thus some fan works refer to her as "Chell [REDACTED]" as a full name.


The Ship's Motor: The Portal fandom has a habit of taking bots like GLaDOS and Wheatley, and making them humanoid, either by downloading them into a human body, giving them some sort of android, or finding a way to mix the two. This is done in part to make writing their expressions easier in fanfiction, but mainly it seems to pair them with Chell.

Ships That Pass in the Night: Gordon Freeman and Chell is a fairly popular ship due to their ridiculous number of similarities, despite the fact that, as far as we know, the two have never met, and are currently in completely different countries, possibly even in different time periods.[1]

Notable Ships

Fan Works

Fan Fiction

Fan Art



External Links

Fan Communities and Archives



  1. ^ a b TV Tropes. YMMV / Portal. (Accessed May 2021.)
  2. ^ "Wolpaw: Players don't care about Portal's Chell" on VG247 (March 14, 2011)
  3. ^ Combine OverWiki. Chell. (Accessed 29 May 2021.)
  4. ^