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Villain Overview
No taste for blood, huh? They've taken the animal out of you.
~ Jenner taunting his henchman Sullivan for his lack of evil.

Jenner is the main antagonist of Don Bluth's 1982 animated film The Secret of NIMH by MGM, which is based on the 1971 children's book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by the late Robert C. O'Brien. He is a manipulative, power-hungry and heartless rat of NIMH who betrayed his own kind due to his desire to remain in the rose bush, rather than leave to a better life in Thorn Valley, as promised by their leader, the old and wise Nicodemus.

He was voiced by the late Paul Shenar, who also played Alejandro Sosa in the 1983 Scarface film.

Biography

Beginnings

Just like the other rats of NIMH, Jenner started out as a ordinary street rat scourging for food alongside his kind until they were captured by men who were working for an institution called NIMH. There, Jenner, along with the rats and mice, were subjected to torture and experimentation, which surprisingly increased their intelligence.

With that in mind, Jenner escaped from NIMH with the other rats through the the ventilation systems, where most of the mice were blown away to their deaths (except for two, Jonathan Brisby and Mr. Ages). As the rats of NIMH (led by Nicodemus) took refuge in a rose bush near the Fitzgibbons' farm and formed a society of their own, Jenner became power hungry as he intends to overthrow Nicodemus to become the new leader of the rats, even openly criticizing Nicodemus' plan to evade to Thorn Valley in case the humans would find out.

Meeting Brisby

During a meeting with the rat council, Jenner continues voicing his opposition towards Nicodemus' plan of evading to Thorn Valley, demanding that they remain in the rose bush. When one of the rats pointed out that the farmer will find out and bring in more humans to exterminate them all, Jenner suggested that they should fight back against the humans, but the rats are not happy about this, knowing that doing so would put them in even more danger.

Eventually, Jonathan's widow Mrs. Brisby comes to the rats to ask for help moving her home, as she can't move her family without risking her son Timothy's health (due to having pneumonia). Mr. Ages and Justin (the captain of the guards) plead to the council that they use their machinery that they stole from the farmer to move the Brisby home into a safer place, but the council is very reluctant as they have their own problems. However, Jenner immediately voices his support to help move the Brisby home under the impression that it would honor the late Jonathan before convincing the council to support for it. Mrs. Brisby was uneasy with Jenner's presence, but thanked him anyway.

As Nicodemus, Justin and Mrs. Brisby are leaving for their boat ride, it turns out that Jenner intends to exploit the situation to kill Nicodemus as he carefully explains his plan to his confidant Sullivan: he will sabotage the operation by cutting the ropes that will be used to lift and move the Brisby home in the hopes that it will crush Nicodemus. Sullivan expresses reluctance to taking such a risk and when he asks what to do about Justin, Jenner replies that he'll handle Justin himself.

Killing Nicodemus

During the moving of the Brisby home under the supervision of Nicodemus, Jenner and Sullivan stand ready to cut the ropes. Sullivan then starts to have second thoughts, but Jenner threatens him not to back down, saying that he has involved in it up to his neck. Eventually, as the home towers over Nicodemus, Jenner cuts the ropes himself (despite Sullivan's objections), dropping the Brisby home and killing Nicodemus in the process.

With Nicodemus dead and the rats fallen into grief, Jenner uses the situation to declare himself as the new leader and persuade the other rats to return to the rose bush. However, Mrs. Brisby arrives after drugging the Fitzgibbons' cat Dragon and informs the rats that the farmer has received a call from NIMH, who intends to send its exterminators to bulldoze the rose bush and wipe out the rats tomorrow morning with the farmer's permission. Jenner refused to believe this by calling Mrs. Brisby a hysterical liar and demanded the other rats to follow him, but they refused as they want to leave for Thorn Valley tonight as Nicodemus planned for. Fed up and deciding to make an example of his leadership, an angry Jenner shows his true colors by wielding out his sword in an attempt to kill Mrs. Brisby.

Finally realizing that Jenner has gone mad, a remorseful Sullivan confesses to Justin about the incident, prompting an angry Justin to defend Mrs. Brisby by telling Jenner to stop his madness. However, Jenner refuses by slashing Justin in the arm and spotting the stone of power given to Mrs. Brisby by Nicodemus, desiring the magical item for himself. Fortunately, Sullivan gives his sword to Justin, but ends up being mortally slashed in the chest by Jenner.

Death

Justin and Jenner then engage into a swordfight over the fate of the rats of NIMH. During the duel, Justin (being aware of Jenner's wrath and presumably informed by Sullivan) berates Jenner for killing Nicodemus by causing the accident in the first place, to which Jenner openly admits to by saying that Nicodemus wanted to destroy everything they had and that he should "take what you can, when you can."

Knowing all too well that Jenner is too dangerous to be kept alive, Justin states that "he learned nothing" and defeats him by stabbing him in the stomach, putting him in great pain. Taking over as the new leader of the rats, Justin makes his announcement to the rats that they should leave for Thorn Valley as planned, but Jenner sneaks up behind him atop a large stone and prepares to kill him from behind. Fortunately, Sullivan takes out his dagger and throws it into Jenner's back, instantly killing him and causing his corpse to fall off the rock and into the mud. Satisfied that he put an end to Jenner, Sullivan dies succumbing to his wounds.

Mrs. Brisby would later use the stone of power to easily move her home away from the mud to a safer place while Justin and the rats left for Thorn Valley, leaving Jenner's plot for power in complete vain.

Personality

He is consumed by a lust for power. Thus far, the amulet has remained safely hidden. But if he finds it, heaven help us.
~ Nicodemus about Jenner.

Like all of the rats of the Rose Bush, Jenner is highly intelligent and knowledgeable in nature due to the experiments conducted on him by the scientists of NIMH. Despite this, he retains his animalistic nature more than any of his fellow rats; his entire goal of remaining in the Rose Bush and keeping his way of life the same is reminiscent to a territorial dispute between two animals.

His aggressive nature and possible insanity is presumably a side effect of the performance enhancers experimented on him; his murderous solution to every situation including usurping Nicodemus to stay in the Rose Bush and attacking Mrs Brisby when she told the truth that the rats of NIMH would die if they stayed at the Rose Bush imply his already dangerous and violent nature had been heightened pharmaceutically. Aside from his megalomaniacal and treacherous nature, Jenner seems to be a misanthrope due to the experiments conducted on him in NIMH. He was willing to attack the humans before they found the Rose Bush despite being outnumbered and presumably was going to steal Mrs Brisby's magical amulet to use against humanity.

That said, Jenner is sophisticated and charming, so he is able to sell his idea that he is right such as convincing Sullivan to be part of his scheme to kill Nicodemus despite his initial reservations. Though when Mrs Brisby says that NIMH is coming to kill all of the rats, Jenner cannot think of an excuse and blatantly says that she is lying. It is possible that Sullivan disobeying him tested his patience and being so close to his end goal then being snatched from him broke Jenner's mind completely and succumbed to his animalistic nature utterly.

Quotes

The Plan is nothing but folly! A doddering old fool's fantasy! Nicodemus would have us destroy this colony only to lead us to starvation in some wilderness!
~ Jenner's first words in the film.
Fie! We have everything we need right here!
~ Jenner, on the rose bush.
Not if we got them first!
~ Jenner suggesting going to war with the humans.
Hear me! The Thorn Valley Plan is the aspiration of idiots and dreamers!
~ Jenner to the Counsel.
Who is that? You know the rules, there are no visitors allowed here.
~ Jenner, seeing Mrs. Brisby.
She's not one of us. What's the meaning of this?
~ Jenner to Justin, about Mrs. Brisby.
Wait, my friend. I smell an opportunity.
~ Jenner to Sullivan.
Manoeuvers of this nature are dangerous. Accidents could happen...
~ Jenner implying he has a plan.
Mrs. Brisby! A thousand pardons, my dear! Forgive the ill temper of my colleague. It would be an honor to assist Jonathan's widow in any way. We are but your humble servants.
~ Jenner pretending to be kind to Mrs. Brisby.
With Nicodemus out of the way, what's to stop us from taking over? (Sullivan: Jenner, you can't kill Nicodemus!) No taste for blood, huh? They've taken the animal out of you? (Sullivan: What if we're discovered?) Listen. The Brisby house is a large cement block. In the moving, what if it should fall? (Sullivan: An accident?) Of course! Cut the lines, and the weight of it will crush his BONES! (Sullivan, hesitantly: It's risky.) Once rid of Nicodemus, the plan will die. We can stay here as long as we like. (Sullivan: But what about Justin?) Leave him to me....
~ Jenner explaining to his reluctant accomplice Sullivan his evil plan to murder Nicodemus.
Nicodemus is cooperating beautifully......he's standing in just the right spot!
~ Jenner when the rats start moving the Brisby house.
When that block reaches midway, you cut the line.
~ Jenner, giving Sullivan his orders.
Don't get any ideas, my friend. You're in this up to your neck!
~ Jenner threatening Sullivan.
Ready with the knife...Ready....Cut now!
~ Jenner telling Sullivan to cut.
Now! Cut it!
~ Jenner when Sullivan refuses to cut the line.
Friends....we cannot move the Brisby home.
~ Jenner after cutting the line.
The equipment is in shambles.
~ Jenner's reason for not moving the Brisby home.
One day we shall journey to Thorn Valley just as Nicodemus wanted...but not now. Come. Let us return to the rosebush. Where we belong.
~ Jenner attempting to get the rats to go back to the rose bush.
Lies!
~ Jenner accusing Mrs. Brisby of lying.
Don't listen! She's hysterical!
~ Jenner about Mrs. Brisby.
You get out! I've had enough!
~ Jenner attacking Mrs. Brisby.
The Stone... (Justin: Jenner!) Get out of my way! (Jenner slashes Justin's arm with his sword. Justin clutches his wound.) I want that Stone!
~ Jenner upon seeing the stone and trying to grab it.
(Justin: It was you! You did it! You killed Nicodemus! That was no accident!) Yes. I killed him! He wanted to destroy everything!
~ Jenner admitting that he killed Nicodemus when Justin figures it out.
I've learned this much: Take what you can, when you can!
~ Jenner's last words.

Trivia

  • It is quite possible that the performance enhancers given to the Rats of NIMH caused Jenner to become prone to aggressive behavior and possibly drove him insane as a side-effect. The side-effects could have also disrupted his brain chemistry and cause him to be dominating over others, hence his power-hunger and disregard for others.
    • There is evidence of this theory as Jenner seems to have a murderous solution to every problem as he suggests to the Council that the Rats of NIMH declare war on human beings. He also killed Nicodemus as his solution to stay in the Rose Bush and seems to blatantly insult those he disagrees with.
    • If this is the case, then the drug's side-effect must have a small percentage in statistics as none of the other Rats of NIMH have displayed this treacherous, aggressive and homicidal behavior.
    • If this is indeed true, then Jenner could possibly be the only Rat of NIMH to be affected by this small percentage.
  • In the original novel, Jenner is a minor character. He is not seen, except in a flashback narrated by Nicodemus. In the novel he begins as Nicodemus' friend during the rats' escape from NIMH, but starts to grow apart when he opposes Nicodemus' plan to leave the farm and live independently. Jenner prefers to stay on the farm and slowly drive the humans out. Eventually, he leads a splinter group of rats away to start their own colony. It is later heard that a number of rats were found electrocuted in a hardware store, but whether or not this is Jenner's group is uncertain.
  • Jenner is often considered one of the most, if not the most, iconic and popular villains in Don Bluth's filmography.
    • As an interesting fact, according to Don Bluth, Jenner's voice actor, the late Paul Shenar was supposed to voice Borf in the 1984 videogame Space Ace. However, he was unable to voice the character at that moment. Instead, Don Bluth was able to voice the character.
  • Despite being the movie's main villain, Jenner did not make an appearance in the film until the second half, and he only had 6 minutes of screen-time. He is, however, mentioned in Nicodemus' book in the prologue and during the opening credits.
  • Jenner is Paul Shenar's only voice role.
  • He bears a physical resemblance to Jafar.
  • When Sullivan fatally stabs Jenner, he isn't holding his sword in the next shot.

Navigation

           Bluth Villains

Animated Features
Jenner | NIMH | Warren T. Rat | Mott Street Maulers (Digit) | Moe | Sharptooth | Carface Carruthers | Killer | Hellhound | Grand Duke of Owls | Pinky | Hunch | Frog Bouncers | Grundel Toad | Berkeley Beetle | Mr. Mole | Mrs. Toad | Ms. Fieldmouse | Queen Gnorga | King Llort | Drake | Rasputin | Bartok | Ludmilla | Drej Queen Susquehana | Drej | Preed | Joseph Korso

Sequels
Cat R. Waul | Cactus Cat Gang (T.R. Chula, One-Eye & Sweet William) | Mr. Grasping | Toplofty and O'Bloat | Chief McBrusque | Scuttlebutt | Madame Mousey | Twitch | Red | Belladonna | Martin Brisby | Dr. Valentine

Video Games
Singe | Lizard King | Borf | Mordroc

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