I’ve always been a fan of character-driven books, and I think the quality of the side and minor character says a lot about how the author develops a world as a whole. My challenge with this Top 5 Wednesday topic was defining what exactly separates a side character from a minor character. For example, I thought Ron and Hermione were pretty clear side characters, but where to classify Neville, Luna and Ginny? The other part of the challenge is being able to actually pick out some favourites, since those that I defined as minor characters tend to go a bit under the radar and might not be developed fully enough to really be interesting. As a result, the characters I chose are those that I would have loved more information or just would have loved to see more of!
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and the official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) Lucas and/or Julian (Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard)
I’m already cheating by picking two characters, but these two stood out to me because it is a book that I just finished a couple of days ago. I have only read the first book in the series so I have no idea if either of these become more significant later on, but I was very interested by both Lucas and Julian. Of the two, I think Julian borders on side character. I was interested in Lucas as a character because there seemed to be a few hints early on that he knew a lot more than he’s letting on. I was interested by Julian because I loved his interactions with Mare and it definitely seems like he will be a great key to discovering more about the royal family’s backstory, and about the Reds/Silvers and the differences between them.
2) Annie Cresta (Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins)
I was also tempted to put Finnick, but again I would consider him closer to a side character than a minor character. I have always had an interest in characters like Annie, who have a bit of a tormented past which leads to the character becoming unstable. That may sound a bit strange, but I’ve generally found those kinds of characters to have such a fascinating backstory and usually play a key role later on as kind of an unexpected ally. In this case, Annie’s role was very minimal but I loved her relationship with Finnick, and I wish she could have had a different ending. I would love to find out more about Annie’s backstory.
3) Justice Strauss (The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket)
Justice Strauss is another character that is debatable. She plays quite an important role in the first book, and is never seen again until the second-last book where her role is again relatively small but important. When I first read the Series of Unfortunate Events, I was very interested by the eclectic characters and especially Justice Strauss as the well-meaning neighbour who could have offered the Baudelaires a better life if things had been different. Actually, I would love to have a story from Justice Strauss’s perspective about what it is like to live with Count Olaf as a neighbour.
4) Sir Cadogan/Peeves (The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
I think Sir Cadogan and Peeves are both the epitome of the minor character. They both play a memorable, but small, role in the stories. Sir Cadogan is a character that I often forget about until I re-read Prisoner of Azkaban, but he is hilarious every time! Peeves is another great, underutilized character. I always had the impression that J.K. Rowling was building up to something bigger for him, since he was a character that showed up so frequently in the books and yet never had a huge role. It’s a real shame he never made it into the film versions. I would have loved to see some of his pranks on-screen. Peeves didn’t really have an essential role in the story, but I always thought he was a great way to flesh out the world and bring Hogwarts to life.
5) Iko (Cinder by Marissa Meyer)
As with Red Queen, I’ve only read part of the series so far, so I have no idea if Iko will become more important later on. In Cinder and Scarlet, Iko was shown as a very unusual android who is much more human and even forgets at times that she is an android. If I remember correctly, Iko is disassembled partway through the first book, so we don’t get much time to get to know her as a character. What I do remember is how funny she was, and I enjoyed any interaction between her and Cinder. I would love to see what (if anything) Iko develops into in the later books.