Thursday, 7 June 2012

BTT: Favourite Secondary Characters

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question comes from Mervih, who wants to know our…

Favorite secondary characters?

Hmm… I’m not 100% sure about the definition of a secondary character...  How far “off centre” should a character be to be called secondary??

Doing a little inventory in my mind, my first conclusion was that for me to remember a secondary character, he/she/it should either be in a book I read several times; or appear in more than one book in a series.

But then I started wondering if perhaps it’s the other way round… that it is a memorable set of secondary characters that makes me want to reread a book, and/ or read the rest of the series!

At least I guess that’s one reason why I reread the Harry Potter books so many times. There are so many characters besides Harry himself whom the author bothered to give their own personal history. Lots of stories going on within the story.

So I could pick a whole bunch of favourite secondary characters from that series alone; but to go with just one, I’ll choose Luna Lovegood. She does not come into it until the fifth book. Eccentric and somewhat unnerving, she tends to see beyond the obvious and it’s not always easy to tell if she’s right or not. But she turns out a very loyal friend. Famous quote: “Don’t worry. You’re just as sane as I am.” (And for those of you who have not read the books: Luna is nicknamed “Loony” by some…)

Another story with lots of characters to choose from is Lord of the Rings. One of my favourites is Treebeard, the Ent.  Famous quote:  “…my name is growing all the time, and I've lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time saying anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.”

Trying to think of a different category of books than fantasy… Two secondary characters that come to mind are  Simon and Deborah St. James, old friends of Inspector Thomas Lynley in the mysteries by Elizabeth George. I was disappointed that the TV series left them out after the first initial episode/s. Actually I stopped following the TV series after a while. And now I find that Simon and Deborah haven’t even got their own Wikipedia article/s – outrageous! (LOL) In the novels, Thomas Lynley and Simon St James are old friends; Deborah used to be Tommy’s girlfriend before she married Simon; and Lady Helen with whom Tommy is in love (later she becomes his wife), is Simon’s assistant, and used to be in love with him... Quite an intricate relationship setup that hovers in the background of all or most of the books. (Actually there is also one novel in which Simon and Deborah are in the foreground with Lynley only briefly in the background and Barbara Havers out of the picture.)


  1. Oh, love Simon & Deborah! Great choice. Thanks for stopping by mine.

  2. I often enjoy the secondary character more then the main one!!! Especially in movies, as well.

  3. You chose Treebeard to, that is so awesome!! Thanks for stopping by mine and sharing yours.

  4. i have never thought about the secondary in a book, only in a movie or TV show. have to think on this one a while.

  5. I like Simon and Deborah too, although she annoys me at times. I'm in the middle of rereading all those books right now.

  6. Luna is definitely one of my favorites. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Agree with you on both Luna and Simon and Deborah. One of my favourite secondary characters is Melrose Plant, friend and "side-kick" (somehoe) to Inspector Richard Jury, a creation of Martha Grimes. And there's Sir Charles Fraith, a friend (and sometimes more than that) of Agatha Raisin, M.C. Beaton's amateur sleuth.

  8. Glad to see there are some readers out there who enjoy the same favourites!
    Librarian, thanks for reminding me of Martha Grimes... I've got one book by her which I read some 12-13 years ago - The Stargazey. Just now I can't recall details or characters but it involved those that you mention, and I know I liked it, but could only find one or two more by the same author at the library. I checked the catalogue now and it seems they still only have four or five titles. As for M.C. Beaton the library has one title - in Hungarian! LOL Neither of these two authors has a Swedish Wiki-page which indicates they're not well known here!


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