16 comments on “It’s Not All About the Hero

  1. You are very right, when I think about characters I love, it is usually supporting characters. I think, as you say, because they haven’t got the weight of having to carry the story on them, they can be more fun, have unique qualities. They are easier to read and sometimes a lot more relatable.

    I think of Charlotte, from Pride and Prejudice, she is really relatable too. Not exactly fun or anything, but she feels real, especially in that world. She’s just trying to get by with what life has dealt her, she doesn’t have the luxury of being a main love interest and waiting for Darcy to pop up! 😀

  2. The protagonist is just as important. Batman would be pretty boring without the Joker and who would Roland Deschain be in ‘The Dark Tower’ without chasing the ‘Man in Black’. Great post.

  3. I completely agree with your observations. That’s why we love, and need, a good side-kick. Even thinking about the way we write; we introduce characters to introduce a theme, highlight a point we’re trying to make, create friction, etc. Without those people there wouldn’t be a story and the way they affect the hero/heroine is what makes them real for us.

    As for the supporting characters there are just too many to name! Even when I think of heroes who generally ‘go it alone’ there are always characters I love that help them along the way. Take Jack Reacher for example; he wanders from place to place solving problems (kind of like The Incredible Hulk), but in each new place there are characters who challenge him, make him feel and show us a side of him that wasn’t there before. It’s similar to Odd Thomas too. Apart from the spirit of Elvis in the earlier books, and Stormy (his one true love), there are those stand-out characters that support his journey. We couldn’t enjoy the adventure without them.

    You know me, I could talk a subject to death, so I’ll stop there! It was an interesting post, and it got the old brain cells working 🙂

    • Some great examples there and you’re absolutely right; it’s the supporting characters that often highlight the important elements of the hero/heroine and make them whole. Without them, showing personality traits, how they handle situations and the creation of conflict would all feel forced. I suppose it’s like a book is a person; the main character forms the eyes we use to see but the supporting characters are the legs we need to stand and move forward.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      • Okay, maybe I should have said ‘until they wished it were dead!’ 😉 A kind of polite ‘put a cork in it’. I can talk about an interesting subject for many and hour, but not everyone wants to listen. Thankfully Callum has a store of patience which never runs dry!

        • Discussion and debate are what help us all to learn and broaden our own spectrum of thought. I’m always happy to listen to what you have to say on anything literature based; your opinions are heartfelt and interesting 🙂

  4. Much of the hero’s character shines through in his or her interaction with supporting characters. I think that supporting characters tend to be more realistic and sympathetic because they do not carry the burden of being models of “greatness” or “vileness”.

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