"Illusion" reveals Emily's birthdate as July 11, 1984, making her 27–28 years old during the events of season 2, which takes place in 2012.She has a net worth of $500 million, as stated on the show (although ABC.com's biography states that "only Emily Thorne knows").As of "Endurance" Emily's wounds from being shot in the stomach by Daniel have left her unable to have biological children.

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Her pursuit of revenge has been noted as a sympathetic aspect of the character.

Commentators cited recent economic difficulties as making viewers more receptive to Thorne's efforts to get revenge against a group of privileged elites for the harm they caused her family.

Van Camp described the character as "quite justified in what she's doing" adding that "everybody can connect with the theme of revenge, whether they act on it or not." The character's "girl next door" appearance is attributed as contributing to this appeal, with show producer Mike Kelly suggesting that it means viewers are "rooting for her even though she's doing something that's kind of diabolical." Madeline Stowe, who portrays the antagonist Victoria Grayson on Revenge, has likened her own character to Thorne.

Due to her father being betrayed and her being forced into foster care and juvenile detention, Thorne has become emotionally troubled.

Emily Van Camp, who portrays Thorne, described the character as having become "corrupted" to the point where Van Camp was concerned that it would be difficult to make Thorne appealing to audiences.

The character usually appears calm and cold while dealing with difficult circumstances but as the series progresses, she begins to reveal vulnerabilities in her demeanor and reacts more emotionally to situations, which also impedes her efforts to get vengeance.and her father was framed for the crime of financing a terrorist attack on the United States.Stowe notes the two characters as being complicated and said that Thorne is on a similarly amoral path as Victoria.Like her father, she is incredibly intelligent and is capable of resolving complicated situations with great cleverness.She is also proficient in shooting and martial arts and speaks fluent French and Japanese.Emily does not kill her targets, although some of her actions have led to people dying at the hands of others.