Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog posts a new Top Ten list and invites its users to participate. This week’s Top Ten is “Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters.”
1. Sancho Panza, from Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote
Sancho Panza is much more than just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill secondary character. He is Don Quixote’s literary foil, his sidekick, his best friend, and is the means through which readers enter into the wonderfully mad mind of Don Quixote. Notable Quote: What giants?
2. Dr. John H. Watson, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories
There wouldn’t be Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson, who like Sancho Panza, is the vehicle through which readers come to know the ingenious Holmes. Notable Quote: You remind me of Edgar Allan Poe’s Dupin. I had no idea that such individuals did exist out of stories.
3. Samwise Gamgee, from J. R. R. Tokien’s The Lord of the Rings series
Frodo and Sam’s friendship is unforgettable, with Sam’s loyalty and compassion being something truly remarkable. Notable Quote: Come, Mr. Frodo! … I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.
4. The Scarecrow, from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series
Among all of Dorothy’s companions, the Scarecrow is perhaps my favorite. He goes from being a brainless, living sack of straw to the wisest person in all of Oz. Notable Quote: I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.
Randall Flagg is the mysterious and violent antagonist that appears throughout King’s oeuvre and goes by many names (The Man in Black, The Walkin’ Dude, Walter Padick, and Walter o’Dim, to name a few). His presence in King’s books suggests a larger, interconnected fictional universe. Notable Quote: We make great magic together, you and I. You kill me no more than you kill yourself. Mother-may-I? Yes-you-may.
6. Timothy “Tiny Tim” Cratchit, from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens was an undeniable master at creating some of Western literature’s most memorable and endearing characters, including Samuel Weller, the Artful Dodger, Nancy, Fagin, Jacob Marley, Fezziwig, Uriah Heep, Madame Defarge, Mrs. Joe Gargery, Abel Magwitch, Miss Havisham, and Estella, to name a few. I chose Tiny Tim not only as a symbol for all of these characters but also because he is one of Dickens’s most beloved and well-known creations. Notable quote: “God bless us, Every One!”
7. The Hatter, from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Everyone has a favorite character from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but it seems that nearly everyone loves (or at least remembers) the Hatter and his crazy tea party. Notable Quote: Why is a raven like a writing-desk?
8. Hedwig, from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Rowling’s Harry Potter series offers a lot of excellent secondary characters: Tonks, Neville Longbottom, Dobby, Luna Lovegood, and Dumbledore (not to mention Ron Weasley or Hermione Granger). Hedwig, Harry’s faithful snowy owl, has been a constant companion to him, until that heartbreaking moment in Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows. Notable Quote: none, owls don’t talk!
9. Robin Goodfellow / Puck , from William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I love so many of William Shakespeare’s characters, that I really can’t pick just one. Robin Goodfellow, a.k.a Puck, is the mischievous prankster faerie largely responsible for the topsy-turvy comedy that ensues in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and is but one of the Shakespeare’s many memorable characters. Notable Quote: Give me your hands, if we be friends, / And Robin shall restore amends.
10. The Librarian, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is filled to the brim with unusual and interesting characters, so many in fact that I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. But given that this is a library blog, it would be remiss of me to not include the Librarian of Discworld’s premier school of wizardry, the Unseen University. While the Librarian was not always an orangutan (his transformation being a result of some particularly nasty magic), he has greatly benefited from his new form and refuses to ever change back. Notable Quote: Ook.