Fiction Focus Week 7- Sidekicks
A little late this week- I almost forgot! I’m sorry!
But that’s just the way of it, isn’t it? I always come back, I always deliver, if somewhat haphazardly, perhaps in a fashion you yourself wouldn’t like. I’m basically your sidekick.
So guess what this week’s theme is.
The sidekick is often the person that makes the hero. Sometimes they’re actually the better of the two, but personality-wise, they don’t fulfil the role of hero. And they’re happy to sit back. Sidekicks are everywhere, Gromit to Wallace, Robin to Batman, Donkey to Shrek. They’re often a favourite- in fact, the sequel to Finding Nemo is all about the sidekick, because people (like me) loved her so much. Like the sidecar to the motorbike, they’re often a defining part of the hero. Maybe they’re the person the hero will go back for. Or maybe they’re the person who makes sure that the hero goes on.
My favourite character in The Lord of the Rings is Samwise Gamgee, and the interesting thing about Sam is that he only ever sees himself as a sidekick. He only ever wants to help Frodo complete his journey. Sam is loyal, Sam doesn’t really believe in himself. Sam sticks by his master until the very end. He sees himself in a servile capacity, and it’s kind of amazing that that persists the whole way, that he never gets a big ego, he never gets frustrated. He just keeps going. He’s a beautiful hobbit.
In Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan, our heroine Kami is really pretty desperate to be a heroine. She wants to investigate, she wants to explore, she’s always waiting for something exciting to come along. Her best friend Angela is the exact opposite, she’s the laziest person in the world. And she’s gorgeous. By rights in any book set in a school, Kami should be Angela’s sidekick. But it’s the other way around, because Angela lets all that sit in the backseat while their friendship takes priority. She goes along with Kami’s schemes and they’re friends, but it’s not an equal friendship, not in literary terms. Kami is our heroine, and while by temperament she is sweet and unassuming and Angela’s snarky, Angela lets Kami shine. Because that’s what friends do.
So questions: who is your favourite sidekick? Have you ever written a sidekick? Do you think they serve a purpose in fiction?
Awe, I love me a sidekick!
I like the idea of sidekicks kind of describing who the hero is and also I think a sidekick can kind of represent what the hero is fighting for on a more personal level. Otherwise it would just be this mass of random people the reader and the hero have no real connection with. A sidekick can kind of put a face on that as well as helping the hero fight.
Like with Frodo and Sam. In the end it feels like Frodo is fighting for Sam’s precious Shire. Sam reminds him of what the Shire means.
And a sidekick can fill in what a hero lacks. I like it when sidekicks slot into a personality hole. Like Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Sherlock has this massive intellect but because of this he lacks the capability of societal communication and John kind of fills in this deficiency for him.
But I always feel they are characters in their own right. Like you say, they just maybe lack the personality traits of a ‘hero’ but as we all know…there is more than one type of person in this world.
I really like the way a sidekick reminds their hero of what it is that’s important and, very much as becki says, how they fill in something which is lacking in the hero, whether that’s a sense of confidence or sensibility.
But sometimes the best sidekick is someone who brings out the worst in the hero, an almost anti-sidekick that allows them to still be a person and less than perfect. I haven’t got a concrete example in my head at the moment, though Road to El Dorado is kind of there.