A Discussion on Side Characters

Today I am doing another informal discussion, and today’s topic is side characters. I highly recommend you watch my YouTube video of this. I think the experience is more enjoyable. If you’d rather read it, here is a cleaned-up version of the closed captions:

I really like when side characters have their own personalities and are well developed. I like when they have their own individual goals and motivations. I like it when they have different quirks and mannerisms that set them apart from the other characters, and I like when they each have their own purpose or role within the story because they’re part of a larger team. It’s good when they are there for a reason, and getting rid of them would cause problems for the story. I also really like it when they demonstrate agency. I don’t need to see the side characters demonstrate as much agency as the antagonist and protagonist, but I do like them to make their own decisions at points across the story. What I really like about side characters is that they are the ones who fulfill relationships. They are the friends. They are the love interests. If my favorite character in a story is not the antagonist, they is almost always the love interest. Not always, but a lot of times, they are the love interest. I generally like the side characters, and I enjoy reading about them.

Here are some examples of different stories that have lots of side characters that I enjoy. One is Harry Potter. I think this is one where the side characters kind of steal the show. I really like Sirius Black and the Weasley twins. I think they are all well developed. I like watching them in the stories. The twins are really funny. I like funny side characters, and I really love the twins, and I think they’re just really great side characters. I think Neville honestly is the best side character in terms of his development because he has a great character arc, and also Snape is really deep and well developed, and so he’s also a really great side character. There are so many side characters within Harry Potter, and we see the important ones are getting quite a bit of character development whereas the less important one—the ones that are there for one sentence out of the entire series or something—we don’t see as much from them because they’re not as well developed. Draco Malfoy is also really well developed because we see him consistently throughout. He’s kind of like a minor antagonist more than a side character, but he’s not the main antagonist, so we do see him quite a bit, and he’s fairly well developed as well.

Another example of a story with lots of side characters is Fablehaven, and that has lots and lots of different characters. My favorite is Bracken. I won’t spoil his role in the story, but he’s definitely a side character. One of my other favorites is Warren, and he’s really humorous. Warren is the one who is always cracking jokes and making me laugh. There are lots of other side characters as well, and they all work together as a team to solve the issues throughout the series, and I really like seeing them work together in that way.

The last one I want to talk about is The Lord of the Rings, and that’s because you have the Fellowship. You have this group of nine individuals working together, and not all of them can be the protagonists, so they’re mostly side characters. You have Legolas and Gimli and Merry and Pippin, who are all really great. Merry and Pippin definitely get more character arcs and development than Legolas and Gimli do. I would have liked to know more about Legolas and Gimli as characters, and we don’t get that. I think the movie honestly does a better job of showing their characters than the book does, which I know that’s probably an unpopular opinion, and I probably just made some people angry, but that’s just how I feel.

Within Disney movies, you have lots of animal friends that are side characters, too, and I think those are fun as well. In The Little Mermaid, you have Flounder and Sebastian. What would that movie be without the cute little animal friends?

Side characters are really fun. They really add to the story because you don’t want to just have the protagonist and the antagonist. That’s no fun. You want your protagonist to have friends and love interests and family members and allies to help them on their journey, and then you want the antagonist to have allies as well that help them. You also want to have people who are in between where maybe they’re not siding with one or the other, but they’re still posing problems to one or both of them.

That’s really all I have on side characters. I just like seeing some development within them if they’re going to be sticking around for large portions of the story, and I really like stories that have large casts where everyone’s working together as a team, and I really like seeing the side characters have their own goals and motivations and seeing them have their own arcs, too, because it’s not all about the protagonist and the antagonist. The side characters are cool too.

One thing I do not like seeing, however, with the side characters is at the end of the story, usually the protagonist ends up getting their love interest, and I really don’t like it when all the side characters get love interests, too, even if it’s among each other. I don’t like it when everyone couples up at the end. I think they should maybe not all do that. It’s not all about relationships and love. I think some people can have goals and arcs that don’t involve any sort of romance, so not a ton of books are guilty of doing that, but some are, and I don’t like seeing that.

That’s pretty much all I have to say. Let me know in the comments down below who your favorite side character is and who your least favorite side character is. I am interested to see your responses.

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