The Polar Express Wiki

Hero Girl is the deuteragonist of the film The Polar Express.


Hero Girl is a young girl who is widely recognized for her looped braided pigtails, pink pajamas, and pale brown complexion. She appears to be 10-13.


Hero Girl is rather mature for her age. She also appears to be quiet, calm, and friendly towards everybody.


Hero Girl befriends Hero Boy and Billy and leads them on their adventures on the Polar Express and the North Pole. She seems unsure of herself at first, but gains confidence towards the end of the film and becomes a leader. She is the first to befriend Billy the Lonely Boy, bringing him hot chocolate and singing "When Christmas Comes to Town" with him. Hero Girl is shown to know the true meaning of Christmas, for she could hear Santa's bells at the end of the movie. When they re-board the train, the Conductor finishes punching into her ticket the word, "LEAD."

Role in the film

On the Polar Express

Hero Girl first appears when Know-It-All asks Hero Boy what type of train they are on, saying it is a magic train going to the North Pole. She also watches the Christmas display in front of Herpolsheimer's with the other children and expresses how beautiful she thinks it is. Later, when Hero Boy gets in trouble with the Conductor for pulling the emergency brake, Hero Girl steps in and explains that he was just trying to help Billy get on the train, so the Conductor lets him off with a reminder of the train's tight schedule.

After that, the waiters serve hot chocolate to the children. Hero Girl hides a cup under her seat to give to Billy later and is given another cup afterwards, which she drinks herself. When the waiters leave, she goes to the observation car to give the cup she saved for Billy, but not without the Conductor's assistance. However, Hero Boy finds her ticket, not punched, left on her seat. He goes to return it to her, but while trying to cross over to the other car, the wind blows it away. It gets stuck to a window, but as Hero Boy opens the window to try to retrieve it, it gets blown away again. It lands in the woods and is blown away one more time when a pack of wolves run by. An eagle catches it and flies back to its nest to feed it to its baby, but the baby spits it out. It lands in the snow and rolls down the hill into a big snowball. The snowball breaks after hitting a rock and the ticket lands on the pilot of the locomotive. It then gets blown underneath the train, back into the passenger car, and sucked onto the radiator.

Later, the Conductor realizes he forgot to punch Hero Girl's ticket, but since she cannot find it, the Conductor takes her on top of the train and they walk across the cars. After they leave, Hero Boy finds her ticket, grabs it, and goes on top of the train to return it. There, he meets the Hobo, who suggests he puts the ticket in his slipper and helps him get to the engine room. There, he finds out Hero Girl was made to drive the train while Smokey and Steamer fix the locomotive's headlamp. Meanwhile, Smokey and Steamer see something ahead and call out to Hero Girl to stop the train. Hero Girl claims to knows which is the brake, but becomes unsure when Hero Boy thinks a different lever looks more like a brake. He eventually goes with Hero Girl and stops the train right in front of a herd of caribou.

After the track is cleared, the train starts again, but begins going too fast. Hero Girl calls out to Smokey and Steamer to slow down, but they were too busy trying to fix the jammed throttle to listen, so the Conductor uses the ropes from Hero Boy's robe to fasten him and Hero Girl to the safety bar in preparation for Glacier Gulch. Next, the train speeds onto the Ice Lake and tilts after hitting an iceberg, causing Hero Girl to nearly slide off. The Conductor and Hero Boy grabs her, but they are unable to pull her to safety until the Hobo shows up and helps, then disappears before anyone but Hero Boy could see him. While Smokey, Steamer, and the Conductor get the train back on the tracks, the wind blows Hero Girl's ticket out of Hero Boy's slipper. Hero Boy and Hero Girl grab it right before the train gets back on the rails. The Conductor, after overhearing Hero Girl thank Hero Boy for finding her ticket, punches "LE" out of it, which is also what Know-It-All got.

The Conductor leads Hero Boy and Hero Girl back to the passenger cars, going through the abandoned toy car along the way. While there, Hero Girl expresses how sad she finds that the toys were treated so horribly. Next, she and Hero Boy notice Billy looking out from the back of the train and singing "When Christmas Comes to Town," which Hero Girl joins in. The three children watch the northern lights as the Conductor comes to show them the lights of the North Pole in the distance.

At the North Pole

When the train arrives at the North Pole Square and everyone gets off, Hero Boy and Hero Girl notice Billy staying behind. Hero Girl tells the Conductor, who says he is not required to come, but they go back to try to get him to come anyway. However, Hero Boy accidentally steps on a lever which uncouples the car, causing it to roll away down a hill. It goes through a tunnel and, after Hero Boy turns the brake wheel, stops on a turntable at the end of the tracks. However, the impact causes the turntable to spin and there are multiple tunnels, so the children do not know which one they came from. However, Hero Girl hears silver bells coming from one of the tunnels and leads Hero Boy and Billy, who do not hear them, off the car and to that tunnel.

The tunnel takes them to a street where Billy starts hearing the bells. They follow the sound into the surveillance room where a few elves leave for the Square on the pneumatic. The children use the pneumatic too, but they end up in the wrapping hall. They follow the arrows on a conveyer belt into the sorting room where they find the last present, meant for Billy, on the conveyor belt. Billy grabs onto the present and Hero Boy and Hero Girl follow. They go down a slide, into a black hole and onto a big pile of presents. Billy is tempted to open his present, but Hero Girl finds a note on it reading, "Do not open until Christmas." The presents get enclosed in a big bag and carried to the Square by zeppelins. On the way, Hero Girl and Hero Boy help Billy get free from Know-it-All, who mistook his leg for a present and reveals he had been following them. After the bag is landed on Santa's sleigh, the children are rescued by the elves. Hero Girl is the second one to slide down the bag.

When the elves hang the bells on the reindeer, Hero Girl comments on their beautiful sound, much to Hero Boy's confusion, who still cannot hear them. She and Billy then gets excited at Santa's arrival, but Hero Boy's view is blocked by the stacking elves. Santa walks over to the children and speaks with them, complimenting Hero Girl for her confidence and Christmas spirit, then announces Hero Boy to receive the first gift of Christmas. Hero Girl, along with the other children, watches Hero Boy being given the first gift and Santa Claus flying away in his sleigh to deliver the presents.

Return trip

For the return trip, Hero Girl's ticket is punched again to make the word "LEAD" (leed), which she initially reads as the metal lead (led) before the Conductor corrects her. She is also one of the children wanting to see Hero Boy's silver bell, then feels sorry for him when they find out he lost it.

When the train stops at Billy's house, Hero Girl gives Billy a hug and wishes him a merry Christmas. She also sees Billy showing that his present has arrived. Before Hero Boy exits the train to go home, she and Know-it-All say goodbye to him, still feeling sorry about the bell.

Other appearances

The Polar Express: The Video Game

When Scrooge steals all the children's tickets, Hero Girl distracts the Conductor while Hero Boy goes to help everyone retrieve them. After all the tickets are found, Scrooge steals Hero Girl's ticket and sticks it to an air vent, leading to her being taken to the engine room to drive the locomotive. Hero Boy finds her ticket and goes to the engine room, with the Hobo's help, to return it to her. While there, Hero Girl uses the wrong controls and nearly causes the locomotive to explode, but Smokey and Steamer return to the cab to put things right. However, Hero Boy had forgotten to return the ticket until after the caribou clear the track. When he does, they return to the passenger cars, but encounter Scrooge again. Hero Boy defeats him by throwing snowballs at his chest. After that, the Conductor shows up and invites the children for refreshments in the dining car. Since Hero Boy was filling in for a missing waiter, Hero Girl saves him a refreshments, then she and the Conductor go to give some hot chocolate to Billy.

Later, Hero Girl, Hero Boy and Billy become stuck on the runaway observation car. The children use the brake wheel to tilt the car and avoid hitting various obstacles along the tracks. When the car stops, the children get off to find a way back to the Square. They see the elves using the pneumatic and decide to ride it too, but they have to hit the switches that open the correct gates. The pneumatic stops at the Wrapping Room where Billy catches sight of a present that might be for him and follows it. He loses Hero Girl and Hero Boy, however, but they manage to reunite after finding their way through the tunnels and conveyor belts of the Wrapping Room. Next, they find themselves at the bottom of the big present pile. They think there might be a way out at the top, so they climb it. Then, the presents are enclosed in a bag, which is carried to the Square by a pair of zeppelins. The children are taken on board by the Elf Captain, who is glad to have someone drive the zeppelins while he helps the other elves. Hero Boy offers to help. When the Captain returns, the children go back to the bag, which they are rescued from by the elves after it is landed on Santa's sleigh.

Behind the scenes

Hero Girl is one of many characters to not come from the original book. However, she was inspired by a girl who appears in one of the illustrations, sitting onboard the train next to Hero Boy during the return trip.[1] While her is never referred to by name in the movie, The Art of the Polar Express, an art book related to the film, reveals her name to be Holly.[1] She was given that name after one of Chris Van Allsburg's real-life childhood friends, who was presumed to be an African American girl from his school since Detroit, Michigan had the largest population of African Americans in the United States.[citation needed]

Like most human characters, Hero Girl's animation was mostly done through motion-capture provided by Nona Gaye with additional motion-capture done by Chantel Valdivieso, though keyframe animation was used to perfect her movements. For example, whenever Hero Girl ran, Nona Gaye's adult-sized motion-capture came out too slow for a child and was sped up by about 12%.[2] When Hero Girl sang "When Christmas Comes to Town", her voice was dubbed over by Meagan Moore.

In other languages

Language Name Voice actor(s)
Chinese 英雄女孩 Cian Sin-Yu (speaking voice)
Jiang Du-Hui (singing voice)
Dutch Heldenmeisje (unknown)
Finnish Sankarityttö Viivi Tamminen
French La jeune fille héroïne Camille Donda
Hebrew ילדה Lenny Cohen
Hungarian Kislány Kitty Kántor
Italian Sabrina Flavia Rosa (speaking voice)
Giulia Luzi (singing voice)
Japanese Horī Yumina Mimura
Korean 소녀 Bak Seon-yeong
Polish Hania Zuzanna Adamczyk
Romanian Hero Girl Anca Sigmirean
Spanish Niña heroína Georgina Sánchez (Latin America; speaking voice)
Leyla Rangel (Latin America; singing voice)
Paula Ribó (Spain)
Swedish Holly Norea Sjöquist


  • "Of course. It's a magic train. We're going to the North Pole."
  • "He was just trying to stop the train so that kid could get on!"
  • "This is for him."
  • "I left my ticket right here on the seat. But it's gone."
  • "They put me in charge. The engineer had to check the light."
  • "No, he said this was the brake."
  • "Slow down! Watch the speed!"
  • "You're goanna lose your ticket!"
  • "Thank you, thank you. I can't believe you found my ticket."
  • "Makes me wanna cry...seeing toys that were treated this way."
  • "Shh."
  • "Look!" (pointing to the Northern Lights with the help of her left-hand)
  • "There should be elves. Where are the elves?"
  • "Excuse me."
  • "What about him?"
  • "Look you have to come with us."
  • "But Christmas is such a wonderful and beautiful time! A time for giving and being thankful. Friends and family, people hanging decorations and lights, and then Santa comes and leaves presents under our Christmas trees!"
  • "Yes, come with us. Will go together."
  • "AAH!"
  • "You hear that? The bell."
  • "The sleigh bells. Don't you hear it? It's coming from that tunnel."
  • "That's the way we should go."
  • "Yes, I hear it."
  • "Alright, get in."
  • "I don't hear it. Do you?"
  • "We're goanna miss everything!"
  • "And it's going to 11344 Edbrooke Avenue."
  • "It says Merry Christmas Billy, from Mr. C."
  • "Wait wait wait, STOP! Look."
  • "What are you doing here!?"
  • "It's still five two. We're goanna make it."
  • "Aren't those bells the most beautiful sound?"
  • "He's here! HE'S HERE!"
  • "It's always what I dreamed it would be."
  • "It says 'LEAD' (led), like 'lead balloon'."
  • "Come on show us the bell."
  • "Yeah, let's go outside and find it right now."
  • "It's too late."
  • "I'm sorry."
  • "Look! Santa got to his house already!"
  • "Isn't that amazing?"
  • "I'm sorry about the bell. It was a very special present."



  1. 1.0 1.1 Cotta Vaz, Mark. Starkey, Steve. (November 4, 2004) The Art of the Polar Express, Chronicle Books. p. 32, 34-35. ISBN 978-0811846592.
  2. Schaub, David (February 22, 2005). "'The Polar Express' Diary: Part 3 -- The MoCap/Anim Process". Animation World Network.
Children Hero Boy (Chris) Hero Girl (Holly) Know-It-All Billy the Lonely Boy Sister Sarah Gus the Toothless Boy Boy on Train Blonde Girl (Heather) Little Boy Young Boy Steven Unnamed Kids
Adults Conductor Hobo Smokey and Steamer Santa Claus Pastry Chefs Waiters Hero Boy's parents
Elves Elves Acrobatic Elves Elf General Elf Lieutenant Elf Singer
Animals Caribou Santa Claus' reindeer Wolves Other animals
Toys Ebenezer Scrooge puppet Scrooge's friends