If I reference a character, whom, for the current context is given a label, such as "The Skull", should I include the word "The"?

The following snippet should clarify my question:

Our mission is to assassinate an elite member of a crime syndicate. In my clan, he is known as "The Skull", a title reflective of the image that covers his head. The Skull ...

Should the initial label be the "Skull" or "The Skull"

2 Answers 2


If you're tipping so far into melodrama that you've called your villain The Skull, then embrace it and capitalize "The." You can even make a bit of gallows humor out of it and have the protagonists joke about whether Jack The Ripper or Winnie The Pooh were named for him, whether he stole the idea from The Donald, etc.


What do the bad guys' buddies call him when talking to him? "Good morning, The Skull, how did you sleep?" Or is it, "Good morning, Skull, how did you sleep?"

Even more telling, is how his buddies refer to him in the third person. "I hope The Skull tells me to make coffee." Or, "I hope Skull tells me to make coffee."

Also telling is how the bad guy introduces himself. "Hello, I'm The Skull." Or, "Hello, I'm Skull."

If "Skull" is more like a title (e.g., Boss, Colonel), then it's definitely lowercase "t". Example: "I'm making coffee for the Skull. What's that, Skull? OK, Skull. The Skull wants you to make him some scrambled eggs."

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