Knuckles is a hardened criminal stuck cooking for a bunch of ungrateful chumps in prison, but he lacks both the talent and the interest to do a decent job until Paddington comes along and changes his life with marmalade sandwiches. Then, he calls himself the bear’s protector on condition—he will teach McGinty how to make marmalade, since you don’t get “something for nothing” in prison, or anywhere else. He quickly becomes frustrated with Paddington’s inefficiency in the kitchen and often tells him exactly how he ought to do something to be more effective (you carry one bag of oranges at a time, not one orange at a time!). He comes up with and executes the perfect plan to get them out of prison, but leaves out the fact that they intend to abandon the country because he knows Paddington’s scruples would never agree to anything that wasn’t for a greater cause (such as clearing his name). Knuckles bases his opinions on his own personal experiences, telling Paddington that his family will soon forget about him and stop visiting him in prison, because that’s what happened to him. He talks about learning and going through life the hard way, and worries that his father was correct about him (that he would amount to nothing). On occasion, he bluntly states the obvious to people (“you turned off the light, not the microphone; the microphone is on the other wall with the word ‘microphone’ under it”). Knuckles has a hard time learning to do anything differently, but Paddington soon shows him there is another, more creative way to do things; he takes what he has learned from the bear and opens up his own tea shop later. Though gruff and of the belief that the bear should make it on his own, Knuckles turns around and rescues him, jeopardizing his own freedom in the process, because he decides it’s the right thing to do. He is awkward and repressed in his emotions and unwilling to admit he cares, except through his actions.

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Knuckles is so angry and obnoxious and takes things so badly that no one dares talk to him, look at him, or address his awful food, without expecting to land in the infirmary (or… well, dead). He has everyone else intimidated, is no-nonsense and tough-talking, and says if anyone messes with the bear, he’ll bury them; the bear is now under his protection. He is blunt and brutally honest, going so far as to call Paddington’s aunt foolish and naïve for having such fond feelings for everyone and being an idealist. He doesn’t like to be vulnerable, show his tender feelings, or seem emotional, even though he really wants more affirmation and acceptance than he cares to admit. He’s not used to people making light of him or standing up to him, so Paddington’s innocent sweetness catches him off guard and he begrudgingly becomes fond enough of him to look after him (because he deems him incompetent enough to need looking after). Though angry a lot of the time, his 9 wing doesn’t like Paddington to get angry back at him, and becomes slightly intimidated by the Bear Stare.