All too often, the “sidekick” in a story is simply there as set dressing, or as a sounding board for the main character, or worst still, as mere victims and plot devices. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, we’re lucky enough to have a character that enriches the story they are in ways that make them essential. We’re talking about those “secondary” characters that actually bring something awesome to the table. Below are all the love interests, mentors, team mates, and supporting characters that make some of our favorite stories great!
Here’s our criteria:
1. Be a supporting character in a story.
2. Bring something amazing to the table, both in the fiction and in our real world.
ROUND SIX: THE FINALS!
We’re down the last two characters vying for the top spot in our #SidekicksThatMatter March Madness!
Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings
Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars
So it’s come to this – one brave little hobbit versus a space wizard that out an entire family of heroes (and villains) on their path to glory. Each character fulfills a vital archetype for their heroes, true, but each has had their own moment to shine.
Sam was just Frodo’s gardener when Gandalf assigned him partnering duties on the quest to destroy the One Ring in the fiery chasm of Mount Doom. Despite being primarily interested with eating, going home, and staying safe – he works hard to protect his friends and shoulder the burden of the enormous task thrust upon them all. Best of all, he has hope for a future after the evil is vanquished, something our other heroes lose sight of. People who have only seen the movie versions of Lord of the Rings might be forgiven for thinking Sam was the main character!
Obi-Wan spent decades in exile, presumed dead like all the members of his “ancient religion” when a galaxy-wide purge all but destroyed them all. Obi-Wan stayed safe and stayed hidden until he could find the heir to a prophecy that would be able to bring balance to the force, and right the wrongs his mentor set in motion many years before. Yes, Obi-Wan trained Darth Vader, the biggest badass out there, but he did so out of misguided love and devotion. The prequels give us a chance to see Obi-Wan in action, where he is given a leading role, but even his appearance in the original trilogy was awash in symbolism and sacrifice we often undervalue in the flood of mythically inspired genre content that has come afterwards.
Our sidekicks took us this far, the final steps are for you…