Sancho Panza from Don Quixote by Don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

















Sancho Panza from Don Quixote by Cervantes and illustrated by Salvador Dali

Sometimes even the best protagonist needs a little help from a friend; enter the literary sidekick. These worthy companions perform many functions to assist the hero or heroine, or simply improve the depth of the story.

Writers mainly employ sidekicks to act as a counterpoint or foil for the hero, contrasting the protagonist′s personality in order to bring the hero into sharper focus. The famous Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes′ stories is a perfect example. Holmes is cast as the most brilliant crime detective that the world has ever known - a fact highlighted by juxtaposing his amazingly analytical thought patterns against those of the intelligent but entirely ordinary Watson. This is what made Watson a great tool for Arthur Conan Doyle but it also made him into a great sidekick. He makes Holmes into a better detective and allows his companion to discuss theories aloud.

While the sidekicks differ from character to character, each great sidekick brings something extra to the team. Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings helps Frodo by being his emotional crutch, giving him the extra push he needs when the going gets tough. On the other hand Bertie Wooster′s valet, Jeeves, displays almost no emotion at all but offers endless foresight and ability to navigate his bumbling employer through every social faux pas and come out smelling like roses. To many readers, Jeeves is much more than a just sidekick - he is the most intriguing character.

Read on and discover 25 of the greatest sidekicks in literature

Phineas in A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Phineas in A Separate Peace
by John Knowles


‘Finny’ is always stretching the rules and pushing Gene Forrester, his roommate and the novel′s protagonist.


All first American editions
All copies
Huckleberry Finn from Adventurers of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Huckleberry Finn from Adventurers of Tom Sawyer
by Mark Twain

Huck is ignorant, unwashed and hungry, but the reader roots for Huck far more than show-off Tom.



All first editions
All copies
Ratty from Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Ratty from Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame


Rat is tough, quick-thinking and wordly-wise - assists all his friends and helps rout the weasels.



All first editions
All copies
Dr.  Watson from the Sherlock Holmes mysteries by Arthur Conan Doyle
Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes mysteries
by Arthur Conan Doyle

Watson is the very ordinary catalyst to Holmes′ highly advanced deductive reasoning.



All Newnes copies
All Sherlock Holmes novels
Pantalaimon from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Pantalaimon from the His Dark Materials series
by Philip Pullman

Pantalaimon is a ‘daemon’ which in the Pullman trilogy means he is a physical manifestation of Lyra′s (the protagonist′s) soul.

All first UK editions
All copies of His Dark Meterials series
Stephen Maturin in the Aubrey-Maturin nautical series by Patrick O’Brian
Stephen Maturin in the Aubrey-Maturin nautical series
by Patrick O′Brian

Captain Jack Aubrey takes on Maturin as the ship′s surgeon - great ability and comic relief too.


All Aubrey-Maturin novels
Dean Moriarity from On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Dean Moriarity from On the Road
by Jack Kerouac


When planning a road trip you need to invite a Dean Moriarity along or the whole thing will be rather dull.


All first editions
All copies
Hermione from the Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Hermione from the Harry Potter Series
by J.K. Rowling


Some say Ron is a better sidekick, but Hermione is resourceful, bright and very tough as well by the end.

All deluxe copies of Azkaban
All Harry Potter books
Johnny in The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Johnny in The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton


Johnny is more than a friend to Ponyboy. He has his back in a fight and helps him realize how much he has to live for.

All first editions
All copies
Ginger from Just William series by Richmal Crompton
Ginger from Just William series
by Richmal Crompton


Ginger is William′s best friend, his companion on many adventures and the key member of the Outlaws gang.

All first editions
All copies
Sally Kimbal in the Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol
Sally Kimbal in the Brown Series
by Donald J. Sobol



Schoolyard sleuth Leroy ‘Encyclopedia’ Brown can solve almost any crime, but still needs someone to bounce ideas off.

Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective (first in series)
All Encyclopedia Brown stories
R. Daneel Olivaw from the Robot and Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
R. Daneel Olivaw from the Robot and Foundation series
by Isaac Asimov


Daneel is a robot introduced in The Caves of Steel where he assists Elijah Baley in the investigation of a murder.

All Caves of Steel first editions
All copies of the Saves of Steel
Brother Eadulf from the Sister Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne
Brother Eadulf from the Sister Fidelma series
by Peter Tremayne

Set in 7th century Ireland, Fidelma solves crimes in the company of her partner Brother Eadulf.


Suffer Little Children first editions
All copies
All Sister Fidelma stories
Archie Goodwin from the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout
Archie Goodwin from the Nero Wolfe mysteries
by Rex Stout


Archie said: "I grab something before the other guy can get his paws on it and collect pieces of the puzzle."


All copies of The Red Box
All Nero Wolf mysteries
Enkidu from The Epic of Gilgamesh
Enkidu from The Epic of Gilgamesh




Though Enkidu was raised by animals, he becomes king Gilgamesh′s constant companion and deeply beloved friend.

Penguin Classics 1960
Donald Lam from the Cool and Lamb series by A.A. Fair (AKA  Erle Stanley Gardner)
Donald Lam from the Cool and Lamb series
by A.A. Fair (AKA Erle Stanley Gardner)

Donald starts off as an employee of the greedy agency owner Bertha Cool but works his way up to full partner.

All copies of Bedrooms have Windows
All Cool and Lam novels
Nora Charles from The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Nora Charles from The Thin Man
by Dashiell Hammett



When her husband Nick is drawn back into detective work, Nora works splendidly as his right hand woman.


All first editions
All copies of The Thin Man
Friday from Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Friday from Robinson Crusoe
by Daniel Defoe



After Crusoe saves him from cannibals, Friday shows him the lay of the land and sticks with Crusoe to the end.

All copies
Jeeves from the Jeeves and Wooster stories by P.G. Woodhouse
Jeeves from the Jeeves and Wooster stories
by P.G. Woodhouse


The gentleman′s personal gentleman to the bumbling Bertie Wooster, Jeeves has all the answers.


All copies of My Man Jeeves
All the different Jeeves stories
Bertie, Ginger, and Algy from the Biggles series by W.E. Johns
Bertie, Ginger, and Algy from the Biggles series
by W.E. Johns


Biggles had numerous sidekicks - Algy (his cousin), Ginger & Bertie were the three most prominent ones.


All first edition copies All Biggles books
Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
Puck from A Midsummer Night′s Dream
by William Shakespeare

King of the fairies he may be but Oberon still needs a right hand man to properly meddle with the affairs of mortals.

All Arthur Rackham editions
All copies
Detective Sergeant Robbie Lewis from the Inspector Morse series by Colin Dexter
Detective Sergeant Robbie Lewis from the Inspector Morse series
by Colin Dexter

Although troubled by the erratic Morse, Lewis displays the loyalty and graft you′d expect from a companion.

All copies of Last Bus to Woodstock
All Detective Morse novels
Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien


Frodo Baggins′ right hand man, Sam is loyal to the end and the very definition of a reliable companion.


All first edition sets
All copies
John Thornton from Call of the Wild by Jack London
John Thornton from Call of the Wild
by Jack London



Thornton is the tough woodsman who rescues Buck from a nasty trio of owners. Man is a dog′s best friend.

All first editions
All copies
Mike from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Mike from The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
by Robert Heinlein



Mike is a sympathetic super computer that has become self aware, who helps the lunar revolutionaries.


All first editions
All copies

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