Leviathan Wiki

Don't try to be clever, young man. It's elephants all the way down!

–Nene, Behemoth

Nene is one of the leaders of the Committee for Union and Progress. She is Lilit's grandmother and Zaven's mother. Her real name is unknown, as she is only called Nene in the books, which means "grandmother" in Turkish. She can no longer walk and stays in a mechanical walking bed which moves like a turtle.

In the series[]

When Zaven introduces Alek to Nene, Alek is confused because he thought that she would be an important male leader of the Committee, as Zaven is so reverent towards her. At first she doesn't trust Alek, and believes that he may be a spy for the Germans, but she is convinced by Alek's knowledge of the Leviathan and by Bovril's ability to speak. She tells Alek that the world rests on the back of a turtle, which itself rests on the back of an elephant, and that it's "elephants all the way down." This is clearly a reference to Turtles all the way down.  Alek calls her Nene because he doesn't know her name, much to the amusement of Lilit, who says that Nene has adopted him. Nene says that "At this age, one can never have too many grandchildren."

Alek introduces Deryn to Nene when she arrives in Istanbul.

Physical description[]

Nene has gray hair, "glittering eyes," and is small and thin.


Nene is very observant. She is able to tell a lot about someone by feeling their hands; for example, she knows that Alek is an aristocrat and a fencer and that Deryn spends time sewing.