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Eric Coulter is a ruthless Dauntless leader who worked closely with Jeanine Matthews. He is a major antagonist of the Divergent trilogy, serving as the secondary antagonist in Divergent and Insurgent.
Early Life In Erudite
Eric transferred from Erudite at 16 years old and became fast enemies with Four after coming second during final rankings. Eric became a leader at 17, which isn't unusual for Dauntless leaders, but is very young compared to the leaders of most other factions.
He is shown to be extremely competitive during the game of Capture the Flag, choosing a team built for power, but loses when Four's team wins.
He attempted to kill Four by holding his gun to his head when he was assumed to be under the simulation, but Tris quickly pulled her gun out and threatened to shoot him before he could even touch Four. She ended up shooting him in the foot instead, as she knew she didn't have it in her to kill him.
Eric commands a group of Dauntless under the influence of the simulation serum to attack Candor headquarters, where the loyal Dauntless are congregated, and gas others so that they can be controlled by a simulation. They shoot tack-like things that inject a serum-like fluid into the loyal Dauntless and Candor members so they may be controlled later in simulations.
They also gas everyone, making them under effect of a sleep simulation, so they can find and capture Divergents, two of whom will be taken back to Erudite headquarters, while the rest will be killed. Eric shoots a young Divergent boy named Bobby in the head, is then stabbed by Tris, and captured.
When the loyal Dauntless learn that one of Erudite's 'peace' conditions for Candor staying safe is to hand over Eric safely to Erudite, the Dauntless rush to the room where he is being held and the newly elected Dauntless leaders, Tori Wu, Four, and Harrison, sentence him to death according to Dauntless rules. He requests Four to be his executioner, and asks Tris to list his crimes.
Eric is very smart, but he's so malicious that everyone tends to forget about his intelligence. He is described by Tris as an Erudite in Dauntless clothing. He is also described as a babysitter who sharpens knives. He is somewhat sadistic and cold towards other people, shown in Insurgent, with him taunting Four about the decision to kill him, in spite of the fact that Eric was being held at gunpoint.
Tobias describes his method of overcoming the fear simulations as using reason and rationality, hinting that he is levelheaded under stress. Another hint is that he does not seem to show fear before his execution, and is more concerned with trying to convince his executioners that they are just as bad as Eric himself is. Eric appears to have a mutual rivalry with Four, given the fact that they were rival initiates.
In the books, Eric is eighteen years old and described as having long, dark hair and countless piercings. He is also described as having cold eyes that made him all the more menacing, scabbed-over knuckles, and a wicked smile.
In the film adaptations he has short blonde hair, a couple of piercings, as well as bold tattoos on his neck and arms.