Wade Watts aka Parzival
Wade is an 18-year-old self-described geek, Halliday enthusiast, and skilled hacker. As a gunter, his determination and tenacity are unparalleled. Despite his inauspicious beginnings, Wade works to define his future on his own terms. After the Hunt is announced, he spends thousands of hours mastering the information in Anorak's Almanac (a collection of journal entries describing James Halliday's obsessions).
His persistence is rewarded when he becomes the first person in the world to find the Copper Key and, later, the lone gunter to defeat Sorrento's avatar in battle. Our teenage protagonist endures personal disappointments and trials in his efforts to find Halliday's egg, but he never gives in to despair. Self-doubts assail him, but they never paralyze his courage. Wade survives Sorrento's attempt to kill him and hatches a daring plan to defeat his archenemy in real life. He successfully exposes IOI's illegal surveillance activities and its corrupt practice of assassinating gunter competitors.
As a result of his valor, Wade is able to preserve the integrity of the virtual world he inherits from Halliday. Last, but not least, Wade's acceptance of the real-life Aech evidences his innate compassion, tolerance, and benevolence.