There are plenty of captivating side characters out there — sometimes even more lovable than the protagonists themselves. If authors ever find themselves stuck in a rut, I, for one, would love to see the storylines of these characters further unfold:
Grover Underwood (“Percy Jackson & the Olympians”)
It’s been a while since I’ve read “Percy Jackson & the Olympians,” but from what I can remember, Grover was a comedic legend, always coaxing out a laugh. His bright personality distinguishes him from the other satyrs and his constant hunger is always a source of amusement. More important, Grover is a reliable best friend, sticking with Percy through thick and thin. Although it was touched upon in the series, it would be entertaining to see Grover’s search for Pan in its own book, untainted by Percy’s lens.
Finnick Odair (“The Hunger Games”)
Out of all the former victors introduced in “Catching Fire,” Finnick has the most complex backstory. Seemingly shallow and flirtatious, he does everything in his power to help Peeta and Katniss survive, while secretly pining for fellow District 4 victor Annie Cresta. Beyond that, we discover that President Snow forced him into prostitution, threatening to kill his loved ones if he didn’t comply. Finnick was not paid with money, but with secrets — something that sounds like it would make a fantastic novel.
Henry Strauss (“The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue”)
To be frank, I find Henry’s character far more enchanting than Addie. It seems Henry only appeals to Addie because he is an exception to her curse, as the only person who can remember her. But to me, Henry’s narrative is more engaging and valuable. The moments where V.E. Schwab focuses on Henry’s inner dialogue are very poetic, and uniquely so, carrying weight that Addie’s narrative lacks. In contrast, her tale drags and is often emotionally stagnant. I honestly think Henry is done dirty by the end of the novel, ultimately just used as a vehicle to carry on Addie’s legacy. It would be riveting to see Henry as the protagonist and Addie a side character instead.
Atticus Finch (“To Kill a Mockingbird”)
I think we can all agree that Atticus is pretty iconic. He is forever engraved in my mind as the perfect father figure and is likely the reason why so many young adults refer to their parents by their first names. Not only a literary hero and a model father, Atticus is up there with Elle Woods when it comes to fictional legal icons. I’d love to hear more about his relationship with his late wife and his own parents, to get a sense of where his distinctive parenting emerged from. It would also be intriguing to trace his moral standing; was he always so progressive?
Vivienne (“The Folk of the Air”)
Vivi is introduced in “The Cruel Prince” as the protagonist, Jude’s, older sister. Vivi is the only sister who truly remembers life in the mortal world, before she and her sisters were stolen away to the world of the Faerie. With a sense of rebellion that is more than just a phase, she is consumed with rage when her sisters express any sort of content with their captor, Madoc. It would be exciting to further explore that dynamic in an individual novel. Vivi, unlike her human sisters, carries faerie blood, yet ironically identifies with the human world far more than they do. However, she has no issue using her abilities to her advantage, glamouring humans so she can live her life free from repercussions. Exploring her identity in the human world would definitely make an interesting book.
Darlington (“Ninth House”)
“Give me Darlington, or give me death.”Chelsea Humphrey, GoodReads reviewer
Darlington has such a fascinating backstory, and I’d eagerly read a book centered around him or even his family history. With a large part of “Ninth House” centering around his disappearance, I wouldn’t be surprised if Leigh Bardugo graces us with more of Darlington in the second book. Darlington has a rare sense of etiquette and charm in contrast to the protagonist, Alex Stern’s, more modern and blunt vernacular. Furthermore, I appreciate the tense relationship with his parents, for it serves as a believable reason for their lack of presence in his life. Many authors ditch the idea of incorporating a character’s family into the narrative because it adds a layer of complexity that is difficult to get right, but Bardugo does a solid job with this.
As Chelsea Humphrey, an avid reviewer on Goodreads says, “Give me Darlington, or give me death.” I couldn’t agree more.