When I think about the stories I love, I usually remember the hero, the heroine, or perhaps a particularly effective antagonist (in the case of the best stories, all three!). It is rarer that a secondary character comes to mind, but I think when one does it is the mark of good storytelling. Below is a list of characters that are memorable in their own right, even if they aren’t the focus of the stories and worlds they inhabit.
Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters
1. Mogget from the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix – What is Mogget, after all? Mysterious, cat-like, more-powerful-than-he-appears, with a helping of sharp humor on the side, for a start. One of the most memorable parts of a fantastic world and series.
2. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Everyone remembers Luna, if only because she’s so… quirky! Radish earrings, missing shoes and all.
3. Ell the Wyverary from the Fairyland books by Catherynne M. Valente – September’s dragon-library cross of a friend from Fairyland is a wonderful bit of make-believe and magic.
4. Puddleglum from The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – My favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia was this dark tale that unpacked the power of words, of slipping into unbelief and forgetfulness, and of a depressing marsh-wiggle with more sodden humor than Eeyore. Oh, and he had a pipe! I remember that, too.
5. Suzy Turquoise Blue from The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix – Another Garth Nix character, and one of my favorites of all time, secondary character or no. Suzy’s an inventive, energy-charged force of friendship and mischief.
6. Morwen from Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede – Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles began with the story of Princess Cimorene running away to live with a dragon. But she wouldn’t have done nearly as well without the help of the witch Morwen and her numerous cats and books. I’d like to live with Morwen for always, I think.
7. Lord Akeldama from Soulless by Gail Carriger – Akeldama is a most unusual vampire, with a keen fashion sense and a friend in that soulless creature, Alexia Tarabotti.
8. The Fairies (Cobweb, Moth, Mustard Seed and Peaseblossom) from Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev – Full of mischief and obsessed with glitter and sweets, these tiny tyrants are part of the magic and joy that fills Mantchev’s riff on Shakespearean playacting.
9. Marquis de Carabas from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere is my favorite Gaiman book, and I was tempted to put any number of character names in this list. Trust me to pick the most shifty, mysterious and unexpectedly helpful of the lot! The Marquis is part of a dark tale of London below, and you could say he has the most dramatic journey of anyone in the book.
10. Una from Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – Una reminds me that L.M. Montgomery wasn’t very nice to one of her nicest characters. I can’t think of Una without tearing up a little. Ah, the feelings!
Which secondary characters count as your most memorable? Do any of my picks make the list?