Mortal Engines Wiki

Herbert Melliphant was a First Class Apprentice in the Guild of Historians.


Prior to 1007 TE, Melliphant's parents paid for his First Class Apprenticeship[1].

Mortal Engines quartet

Mortal Engines

Melliphant was first seen during London's capture of Salthook, attempting and failing to impress Historian Clytie Potts. He insulted fellow Apprentice Tom Natsworthy's deceased parents, leading to a brawl.

Later, while celebrating London's success on the Great Hunting Ground, Melliphant set off a firecracker in the London Museum and was demoted to the rank of Third Class Apprentice as punishment. He was thoroughly dissatisfied with his new job of mopping floors. Looking for a way to "claw his way back up to First Class", Melliphant spied on Katherine Valentine and Bevis Pod after overhearing their plan to destroy MEDUSA, reporting their actions to London's mayor Magnus Crome.

He is presumed to have died when London was nearly obliterated by MEDUSA.

Mortal Engines (film)

Melliphant is played by Andrew Lees in the 2018 film adaptation of Mortal Engines.


Melliphant was described as fat and burly, with a square face that reddens easily. He had a braying voice. Like all members of the Historians' Guild, he wore black robes[1].


Melliphant was selfish, willing to use anyone for his own gain; the only reason he talked to Tom during the capture of Salthook was to impress Clytie Potts. Later, after his demotion, he tries to use Katherine, Bevis, and Magnus Crome as a way of being promoted back to First Class[1].

Melliphant was brutish as well, using his size and strength to bully others. He especially enjoyed picking on those who could not fight back. However, Melliphant is also shown to be cunning and intelligent. These traits combined make him "the worst sort of bully; the sort who didn't just hit your and stick your head down the lavatory, but made it his business to find out all your secrets and the things that upset you most and taunt you with them"[1].

Melliphant was elitist. He thought very highly of himself and his status as a First Class Apprentice. When Clytie Potts suggested inviting Tom to a party, Melliphant turned red and objected. He remarked that Tom was "just a Third. A skivvy". Melliphant believed that one had to buy a First Class Apprenticeship in order to be considered a true Apprentice, taunting Tom with the comment "it's a pity your dad didn't leave you enough money for a proper apprenticeship". He was also dismissive of anyone living on London's lower tiers, referring to those areas derisively as "slums"[1].