Hello everyone! For this post I have decided to share to you my thoughts on sidekicks in fiction, since I have discovered that some of my favourite characters in books, and even TV shows, are not the main characters, but their sidekicks. This article was originally posted on my other blog.
Based on TV Tropes, sidekicks are: The friends and helpers of the main hero. They can be almost any type of hero playing a secondary role, a normal character observing the action, or Plucky Comic Relief – sometimes all three. Typically they are a Foil to the hero, and this is often underscored by their dramatically different appearance.
My favourite sidekicks:
Ron Weasley from Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Ron is probably my favourite character in the literary world, and definitely my favourite character in the Harry Potter series. He’s such a loyal friend who deserves a lot more than being overshadowed by his best friend. I think that he’s a very valuable member to the trio and also to the plot of the story, and that his representation in the movies was horribly done. In the movie (and might I say, in The Cursed Child as well), he was only depicted as the comic relief, the goody friend who is useless except for his empty jokes. Despite the fact that sometimes people would overlook him and even though all his life he has always came second, he still remained a reliable friend to Harry. His scene in The Deathly Hallows when he was confronted with the Horcrux really showed that, and made me love him even more.
John Watson from Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and BBC’s Sherlock
I have always liked Watson ever since I read the short stories when I was in middle school, but I fell in love with the character played by Martin Freeman. Again, I think that John was a very valuable character, and takes a really big role in the development of the story and to the main character Sherlock. In the original stories, he was mainly there for Holmes to explain his thinking method and how he came to solve a crime. However he became such a valuable part of Holmes and his work. He is also one of the most well-written and well-acted characters I’ve seen on television. There is much more to him that just the famous detective’s housemate.
Manchee from the The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Sure, at first Manchee was kinda annoying, both to Todd and to me the reader. But he definitely grew on me. Again, his loyalty and his friendship with the main character basically made the main character, Todd, a better character and acted as a huge part of his development. He might only be a dog and a sidekick, but he had a special place in my heart.
James Wesley from Marvel’s Daredevil
This TV show was something I was obsessed with when it came out. And despite how I adore all the other characters in the series, Wesley really stuck out to me. Unlike the previous sidekicks I mentioned before, Wesley is the antagonist’s sidekick instead of the protagonist’s, but that doesn’t mean he’s not as badass or as great as the others. The friendship and the devotion Wesley showed was incredible, and I had wished that he’d appear more on the episodes. Moments that showed Wesley and Fisk’s relationship are just wonderful to watch.
Leo Valdez from the Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan
My favourite character from the Percy Jackson world is probably Percy Jackson himself and Nico di Angelo. But Leo comes in close with those two. I looooved Leo. He had such a personality. He was such an awesome character, with a lot of depth and great personality. His humour, though sometimes I feel like was used too much as comic relief alone, was excellent and although he’s not necessarily anyone’s “sidekick”, he was sort of the outsider from the gang. I still think that he’s an amazing character and I love him even though I haven’t read the series in years.
Sam Winchester from CW’s Supernatural
I used to love the show Supernatural, and again, the not-main-character is my favourite character. Yes, you might argue that Sam is basically the main character of the show, but when you think about it, Sam is basically Dean (his brother)’s sidekick, not just because of their age but also because in truth, Sam is basically on Dean’s leash. I feel like his role might’ve changed a little bit over the years, but still there are moments when Sam is overshadowed by his big brother. And we have actually explored this theme of the brother’s relationship a lot in the series. Personally, Sam is an amazing character for me, with so much depth and complexity.
Some more of them I really love:
- Torin from the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
- Samwell Tarly from A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin
- Bolin from Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra series
- Mike Wazowski from Disney’s Monsters Inc.
- Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien
- Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid
- Robin from DC Comic’s Batman.
- Ron Stoppable from Disney’s Kim Possible
- Bucky Barnes from Marvel’s Captain America
These are only some of my favourite side characters from the fictional world that I can think of. And some of you might not agree with me but I love them. I feel like they are so underappreciated, and I can talk all day about them.
Reasons why I love sidekicks:
They are sometimes more important than the main character
Say Ron Weasley for example: can you even count how many times he has saved Harry’s life? And without Ron, they would probably have never passed the chess part in the Sorcerer’s Stone, or Harry would’ve drowned in the lake in the Deathly Hallows while trying to get the Gryffindor Sword. They play a very valuable role in the story of the book or movie or show.
The keep the main character alive
Basically all of the sidekicks I mentioned above are from adventure or fantasy-ish stories and most of them involve life or death situations. And the main character probably needed their best friend’s help to stay alive. Manchee has saved Todd’s life numerous times, and Todd knows and is forever grateful for him for it. Again, even if the story isn’t very adventurous, like TFIOS, the friend can always save the main character through different ways. Isaac keeps August hopeful and cheerful despite his sickness.
They are much more deeper than only a way to add humor to the story
Leo Valdez, Ron Weasley, Manchee, Bolin, are some side-characters that were unnecessarily used to add humor to the story, and made as if they are stupid or ignorant to make the main character seem smarter or better. But they have way more depth than that. I can make a whole another post about why Ron Weasley is not the stupid, ignorant, lazy person you watch in the movies, or why Bolin is actually a really intelligent person who sometimes goes out of character to make the audience laugh in certain scenes.
They are always there
Sidekicks are loyal and they are the heroes’ true friends. Although they might start off as hopeless like Sam Tarly, they grew to become a reliable friend toward their main characters.
The main characters would turn to their sidekicks in doubt or trouble, and some main character might not appreciate them enough (and regret it in the end *cough*Manchee*cough*), yet some of them would show that even though they were the one who got the glory and has their name put up as the title of the book series, they wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for their best friends. Sherlock Holmes in the canon stories had shown some aspects of humanity because of his friend Watson. The main characters can always rely on their sidekicks, on any situation. Because they are the real heroes behind the story.
So I might’ve rambled on way too long in this post, but as you can see, I have a very deep and passionate love for sidekicks and overshadowed characters. If you agree with me, leave your thoughts in the comments!