Jessica Marie "Jess" Harding is one of Jurassic Park's veterinarian, Dr. Gerry Harding's daughters. Along with her father, Jess was left behind on Isla Nublar during the Incident. She was voiced by Heather Hudson.
Character and appearance
Jess Harding can be described as a stereotypical rebellious teenager. She is 14 years old who, attempted to smoke, is involved in minor shoplifting, and is angry at her parents because of their divorce and has low marks at school.
Born in 1978. Jess's early life is unknown, however her dad states that when she was younger she used to visit him when he worked in the San Diego Zoo.
At some point during the film, Jess and her father Gerry are seen driving to the East Docks for the last boat, but get sidetracked when they come across an injured woman. They head back to the Visitor Center but are interrupted along the way by a junior Triceratops, an angry alpha, and a T. rex named Rexy.
She and her father eventually end up at the Visitor Center, but upon investigating, she ends up being chased by Rexy inside and outside the Center. Dr Laura Sorkin manages to distract the Rex with Explorer 02. Later on she is seen near the Parasurolophus Pen. She helps Dr. Sorkin let the Parasaurolophus out of their paddocks and release a cure to the lysine deficiency into the park's water system. Shortly after, Velociraptors attack, and she, Dr. Harding and Dr. Sorkin are forced to climb to the top of a water tower. The raptors topple the tower and the three of them escape into the tunnels.
Later, the three of them reunite with Oscar Morales, Billy Yoder and Nima Cruz, only to be ambushed by the Velociraptors again. Oscar fends them off by slashing the pack leader over the eye. Then Dr. Sorkin finds out that the Geothermal Power Plant is overheating, prompting them to head over and fix it.
During this event, Jess sneaks off for a smoke after stealing Dr. Sorkin's cigarettes. However, this promptly led to an encounter with one of the pursuing raptors. Able to escape, she later on has an argument with her father. This argument reveals the home situation of Jess and her relationship with her parents. After fixing the Power Plant, but losing Oscar in the process, they escape to a maintenance shed. Jess discovers a corpse covered in plants. Upon closer inspection, this is revealed to be D-Caf, and that he is not yet dead, but paralyzed. Dr. Harding discovers eggs lying in a hole in D-Caf's body, and Dr. Sorkin deduces that these are Troodon eggs.
Jess screams at Yoder, who, angered by Dr. Sorkin not telling them about the Troodons, threatens to kill the woman. Eventually, he reluctantly backs down after further pleading by Jess and her father. The group is then attacked by the returning Troodon pack, and, in a resulting chase, they end up separated as they both head to the Marine Facility.
As they travel down the elevator, Jess displays a knowledge of water pressure, surprising her father. After the group reaches the observatory, they see Dr. Sorkin down in the moon pool area, trying to negotiate with the government not to destroy the island. After they refuse, she goes to drastic measures, locking the observatory door and telling the other line that she is holding the group hostage till they agree not to destroy the island. She almost succeeds in winning the government over, but Yoder, enraged at how Dr. Sorkin can even think about saving her creations at a time like this, breaks the door open with a hatchet. Just then, the Tylosaurus bangs against the observatory glass, and Dr. Sorkin is thrown into the moon pool and devoured by the creature.
Yoder then reveals that he plans to abandon Jess and her father and prompts Nima to follow him. But Nima, having grown fond of the Hardings, stands up to him. Yoder flees, but not before sending a grenade into the observatory. The three of them survive the explosion, which cracks the glass in the observatory. They head into the moon pool and close the door, but it is damaged and they see that water is slowly flooding in through the pool. However, Jess reveals that she had previously taken secret scuba diving lessons against her father's orders, indicating a number of scuba suits and rebreathers. She also reveals that she had pickpocketed the Barbasol can from Yoder's pocket, meaning that even if he does escape, he won't get his payment. However, after inspecting the rebreathers, she admits that she has little experience with these.
She eventually works it out and the three of them escape through a tunnel in the tank while avoiding the Tylosaurus, making their way through a series of caves that Nima remembered from her childhood. They exit at the dock only to come across Yoder, who is overjoyed to see that he still has a chance at the can. After a brief struggle, Yoder is eaten by the Tyrannosaurus and Jess, Nima and Dr. Harding make their escape to the boat. Jess and her father leave the island with or without Nima, depending on the ending chosen.
The ending where Nima saves Jess and sacrifices the can, Jess finds the remainder of Nedry's payment on the escape boat. If the ending where Nima goes to save the can is chosen, Jess and Gerry make it off the island and vow to help get Atlanta (Nima's daughter) out of poverty.
If the player fails to complete certain tasks, it is possible for Jess to be killed by Rexy, the Tylosaurus, a Troodon, Velociraptors, a Herrerasaurus, or Lady Margaret. These deaths are considered non-canon, and will result in a game over. The player will then be allowed to respawn and try again.
- Her personality is very similar to that of Kelly Malcolm, daughter of Ian Malcolm from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Both are rebellious teens who feel that they have inattentive parents, especially their fathers. Both of their parents are also divorced.
- In the episode "The Raptor Chase," Jess makes a sarcastic statement to her father about already being both married and pregnant. In the episode Sorkin's Lab Jess was told she can't get a boyfriend.
- Prior to the Isla Nublar Incident, as well as her arrival on the island, Jess was once involved in a shoplifting incident, stealing a T-shirt at a mall (according to Gerry), and almost ended up in jail.
- During a conversation with her father, Jess mentions attending Westlake Academy in Westlake, Texas, a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth. Though, Westlake Academy was not open in 1993, it was opened in 2003.