Reader Friday: Your Favorite Minor Characters

A lot of the “spice” in a really good novel or movie is a great minor character. Dickens made his fortune on them. 

What about you? Who are some of your favorite minor characters in fiction or film? Why do they work? 

9 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Your Favorite Minor Characters

  1. R2-D2 and C-3PO were both minor characters of genius. (All that good will got taken away by Jar Jar Binks. There has to be a lesson there on how to do it and how not to do it.)


  2. 1) Clete Purcell in James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux series. He is not so much Dave’s dark side as his unrestrained side.

    2) Hawk in Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novel. He is the friend everyone wishes they had.

  3. Jim Butcher has an excellent cast of secondary characters in his Dresden Files series. Bob the talking skull, his incubus half brother Thomas, his apprentice Molly, his police officer friend Murphy…the list goes on.

    Part of any great book is a strong cast of interesting secondary characters. It can take a good book and make it unforgettable.

  4. One of my favorite movies, Moonstruck, does not have one dull character in it. Even the little mousy girl at the bakery, when Loretta comes to see Ronny for the first time, is given a personality and a “moment.”

  5. Jim: I was thinking about Moonstruck as I mentally went down the list of movies and books with a great supporting cast.

    For me, the trouble always comes in balance and not overdeveloping the secondary characters.

  6. In Lord of the Rings, the hero’s steadfast friend comes to mind (Sam?). Any sidekick worth his salt becomes a memorable character. Secondary characters can be fun to write because they don’t have to be as straight-laced as the heroes. Dr. Watson, anyone?

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