Roderick is the 14-year-old son of Lord and Lady Runcie-Campbell. He appears to be rather non-conformist, as he does not agree with his parents' aristocratic beliefs that their status makes them superior in moral terms. Rather, Roderick holds the idea that people should all be treated fairly, perhaps a notion inherited from his grandfather. He represents the quest for moral goodness in mankind.

Physically he is clumsy, poor at sports and is considered a weakling, having to be home tutored for his own good. His grandfather has had a strong influence on his sense of justice in the world and he shows this in his support for Calum when he reminds his mother that Calum had not wanted to take part in the deer hunt.

He shows his displeasure at his mother's behaviour in the beach hut by remaining silent, and he wants her to give the brothers a lift. His grandfather had encouraged Roderick to be sensitive to others who were considered inferior.

Roderick dislikes and fears Duror immensely, having witnessed him killing a roe deer and seen him spying on the brothers in the woods when he was bringing a cake to them.

He climbs the tree at the end of the novel to emulate the cone gatherers and show his admiration for them, but also to escape events on the ground where he is perhaps confused by the unfairness. It is significant that he ignores his mother when she shouts to him.