Mehmet, a quite tall, sturdy, light brown-skinned mountain villager in his forties. He has no distinguishing features that immediately separate him from the other villagers. However, there’s something about the unruffled calm of his face that immediately inspires trust. Mehmet’s relationship with his family and with the other villagers is based on less on intimacy than on a sombre directness. Limited social relations are part of the life he leads in the isolated mountain village, and in the winter months he has even less contact with others. Mehmet has close relations with nature and with his newborn calf, Poyraz. Throughout our story, Mehmet is his own man, a loner with an independent streak. We see him sleeping in caves up in the mountains or fearlessly climbing steep slopes. As much as searching for silver ore is a way to make a living, it also allows Mehmet to escape the tedium of life, his wife and his troubles, and to find solace in nature and in solitude. It’s a reflection of his character.
We mostly see Mehmet’s wife, Hanife, as she goes about her daily chores. She is the member of the family who bears the burdens and the responsibility. She also suffers the repeated disappointment of her husband’s failure to strike it lucky by finding a rich lode of silver, which is his great hope. She doesn’t have faith in this dream and thinks his efforts are in vain. Hanife just wants to lead a normal life like the other villagers.
Mehmet’s mother, Granny Nazife, is a wise woman with a deep understanding of nature, who often talks about the weather and herbs. She holds the family together, guides the family with her counsel and advice, and keeps the past alive by reminiscing on bygone days.
The older son, Ibrahim, is twelve years old, dark-skinned and of normal height and weight for his age. In temperament and appearance, he takes after his father: he’s withdrawn, calm, and not given to shows of affection. The fact that he doesn’t have much opportunity to socialize or spend time with boys his age, has brought him closer to his younger brother, Mustafa, with whom he spends nearly all of his time. As the oldest child he’s responsible for the bulk of the daily chores, a responsibility he handles with the maturity of an adult. A battery-operated radio – which is an important symbol in our story – is Ibrahim’s connection to the outside world. The radio plays he listens to with his younger brother shape their imaginary world.