Very few heroes or heroines can get through life without a side-kick or a special item (such as a sword, amulet, stone, wand, magic bag, jewellery etc). Where would Dorothy be without Toto and the ruby slippers? How would Bill Sykes have got on without Bullseye? Would Chocolat be as good without Vianne’s chocolate shop and her daughter?
Side-kicks and special items are always important in your story. They add depth because your main character would not go through life without friends and the relationship between them and how they interact can speak volumes about who they are.
Side-kicks can add comedy; they can be the main character’s conscience (Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio); things can happen to them that add to the plot; they can be the serious or silly one in the relationship; maybe it’s they who are on the quest and your main character joins them; and they can add tragedy (Little Nell dies in the Old Curiosity Shop).
Special items are there to assist the character in their quest. For instance, Harry Potter’s wand has saved him from certain death whereas Ron Weasley’s adds humour to the story. The tick-tock of the crocodile’s clock adds drama and humour to Peter Pan. And the four children go into battle at the end of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with their own special weapons or items.
Some examples of other famous characters and their sidekicks/special items in literature:
- Hook and Smee (Peter Pan).
- Milo and Tick Tock, Milo and his car (The Phantom Tolbooth).
- Heidi and Peter (Heidi books).
- Vianne and Roux in Chocolate
- Scrooge and the ghosts
- Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger.
- Mary Poppins and Bert.
Who is your sidekick? What is their relationship with your main character? How do they add to the story? Are they a best friend or a new friend or someone just along for the ride who eventually becomes a friend? Do they help or hinder your main character? Do they add comedy? Do they get themselves into various situations that your main character has to rectify?