Side Characters Are the Cheese

It’s our favorite day of the week! That means it’s time to ramble.


I’m sure that everyone has their favorite type of character, whether you fancy the mysterious stranger/leader *Aragorn steps out of the shadows* or the strong female protagonist *Katniss readies her bow* or even the overconfident action hero who can do no wrong *the name’s Bond…James Bond*.

My favorite character type?

None of the above.

I like me some side character.

I don’t know what it is about the side character, but a really good one will capture my attention from the very beginning of the story and never lets it go. They are, in my oh-so-broad vocabulary, the cheese.


I’m not exactly sure what it is about the secondary characters that I find so interesting, but they usually end up being my favorites. Maybe it’s the potential of learning more about them, compared to the main character’s fully fleshed-out personality.

Of course, when I’m writing my own stories, every single character needs to be fully-formed and rounded out. So typically, I know everything there is to know about them all. But when I’m reading a book or watching a movie/TV show, I’ll latch on to a side character for the bits and pieces that are revealed about their lives.

Sure, Frodo is interesting and all. But like, what about Pippin? DOES HE EVER GET HIS SECOND BREAKFAST? These are the questions I need the answers to.

second breakfast
Boromir concurs

Maybe I just like funny characters. Comedic relief is one of my favorite types too and sometimes that trait goes hand-in-hand with secondary characters. My favorite character from Avatar: The Last Airbender is Sokka. We share the same sense of humor.

water tribe

Being interesting and being funny aren’t the only ways for a character to catch my interest, though. The best side characters are useful to the plot and to the development of the surrounding characters. Having an interesting comedic sidekick is great and all, but unless they have a purpose, why are they even here?

Honestly, the funny ones tend to have the most emotional character arcs, at least in my opinion. It’s such a gut-twisting contrast to see a character you love, who’s been cracking jokes the whole time, get into a situation that takes an emotional toll.

You know things are serious when invisible legend Drax the Destroyer puts down his Zarg-nuts to have a quiet moment of, “Um, Quill…?”


I can’t take it! There’s just so much potential for these types of characters!

So, let this be a lesson to you, kids: Don’t waste your side characters! They have way too much potential to be written off (if you’ll pardon the pun). If you give them a chance (and some cactus juice), they won’t disappoint.



Have a lovely weekend, you earned it!

Photo by Alice Donovan Rouse on Unsplash