Here's a list of my top ten literary favorite sidekicks. Drum roll, please!
10. Chuck (The Maze Runner)
While Newt and Minho tend to top the list of the fandom's favorite characters (and of course), no one can deny that when they were total jerks upon Thomas' arrival to the Maze. Chuck, on the other hand, despite their age difference and there being nothing in it for him except more work, takes it upon himself to basically adopt Thomas and put up with his angsty and angry disorientation. Slightly cynical, a mild-mannered prankster, and loyal to the end, I think what I admired most about Chuck was he was way more patient with Thomas than I would have been.
9. Butler (Artermis Fowl)
You know, to work for a nasty twelve-year-old criminal mastermind, follow through on his shenanigans, and save his skin constantly, you really have to have a sense of loyalty. Between this and his mere appearance, Butler is the personification of "Don't mess." As the series progresses, Artemis learns to appreciate his body guard as more than just a tough-looking accessory and disaster clean-up crew.
8. Snowy (The Adventures of Tintin)
Snowy, or Milou in the original French, is more than just the animal half of a classic boy-and-his-dog-duo. Part comic relief, part snarky, realist commentator on his friend's escapades, and part annoying little brother with fur and paws, with his weakness for bones and whisky, Snowy does more than fill the role of supporting character: he practically completes Tintin, in a canine, Dr. Watson sort of way.
7. Falkor the Luckdragon (The Neverending Story)
Okay, forget the dog puppet from the movie and read the book. Falkor is awesome. He can swim through the air, blow blue fire, has pearly scales, can sleep while he flies, and sing like a bell chorus. He cheers everyone but isn't afraid to tell it like it is when Bastian and Atreyu screw things up when they lose it emotionally. He risks his life multiple times to save people who'd otherwise quit on him.
6. The Raggant (100 cupboards)
Flying. Baby. Rhino.
Stuck-up pompous magical flying baby rhino.
Need I say more?
5. Dr. Watson (Sherlock Holmes)
Ah, Dr. Watson, the patient, uncomplaining best friend of Sherlock Holmes, and the quintessential wingman of all literature. Your typical British gentleman and exceptionally intelligent (though not as observant as Holmes), Watson puts up with Holmes' eccentricities, vanity, and sharp comments to be the foil Britain's greatest detective needs.
4. Bean (Ender's Game)
Bean is not like most sidekicks. At first, he's sassy and self-focused, more interested in topping and beating Ender than backing him up. He's not even a friend for a while, unlike the more altruistic and forgiving Alai. But Bean proves indispensable to Ender for two reasons: 1. He shows Ender his weaknesses and 2. is the only classmate who can think on his level. Forever destined to be sub-commander, Bean eventually and willingly takes the back seat in begrudging friendship with Ender, which eventually blossoms into mutual undying respect, and the greatest command duo their school was able to produce.
3. Reepicheep (Narnia)
Swashbuckling, valiant, and the model of chivalry itself, it's impossible to not love Reep. His undying faith in the old magic often leaves him the wiser among the Narnians, despite his pompous vanity and height difference.
"I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you!"
Need I say more?
1. Passepartout (Around the World in Eighty Days)
If your eccentric boss (who fired your predecessor for heating his shaving water a few degrees too warm) told you, the same night he hired you, that you had fifteen minutes to pack and leave for a trip around the entire world in the steam era, what would you do?
Well, in Passepartout's case, he goes obediently albeit muttering under his breath, and in my opinion, becomes the book's real hero.
As French as Dr. Watson is English, Passepartout is the life of the party in comparison with his robotic master, often getting himself into comical trouble (whether with opium, Japanese circuses, or angry Buddhist monks), but also proves himself humbly heroic. He, not Mr. Fogg, saves Aouda, an entire trainload of Americans, and eventually the entire endeavor.
Some of you might be surprised that I put Sam at #2, behind Passepartout. The main reason is, while I love Sam, Passepartout is more three-dimensional in my humble opinion. Maybe I'll write a blogpost sometime on character development in the classics (SPOILER: Tolstoy wins).
Some runner-ups in no particular order:
Clarence, Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Tell me! Who are your favorite side kick characters? Would you change this list, and why? Anyone you think I left off?