May 24th: Favorite Minor Characters.
It’s Wednesday again?! Usually I prepare these posts in advance, but this week it snuck up on me!
Anyway, minor characters. Let’s go.
Andromache (The Iliad by Homer). As if I could go a week without mentioning the Iliad. Very few characters in this thousand-page epic can be described as ‘minor,’ but as she’s only in a couple of scenes, I think Andromache fits the bill. Wife of the Trojan hero Hector and mother of their son Astyanax, Andromache’s character adds some much-needed humanity to this larger than life story, and her scenes are always my favorite to read.
Volkheimer (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr). Half of what’s so compelling and heartbreaking about this book are the characters that Doerr creates – each one feels so three-dimensional, not just the two main characters. Frederick, Etienne, and Jutta are all likewise incredible characters (Frederick in particular), but the one that stands out to me the most from this story is actually Volkheimer, one of the students that Werner meets at his Hitler Youth school. Volkheimer, massive and imposing in stature and a star pupil, seems to be the model German soldier. But he’s also quiet and thoughtful and loves classical music, and he’s gentle with Werner and their friendship is so compelling. One of the best things about this book is how Doerr really brings to life how tragic the Hitler Youth was, and how these children really were just victims – Werner and Frederick and Volkheimer in particular.
Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins). ‘Mockingjay’? Never heard of it. I’m only familiar with the third installment of this franchise called ‘Finnick Odair Lives Happily Ever After’ – it stars Finnick, and, you guessed it, he lives happily ever after. Not sure what happens with Katniss and the revolution and all that, but Finnick!!! lives happily ever after!!!
Filippa Kosta (If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio). I loved all of the characters in this book, James in particular, but probably the most intriguing character is one who lurks somewhat in the background through the whole thing, Filippa. In this tight-knit group of friends who have known each other for years, Filippa is the only one who remains an enigma, as she’s deliberately vague in sharing any information about her family or home life with her friends. We find out the reason why that is by the end of the book, and it’s awfully sad, but Filippa remains a favorite because of the sheer strength of her character, because of the things she’s able to accept and deal with where the rest of her friend group is too afraid. She’s fantastic and I wish she had a larger role – on stage and off!
Viserys Targaryen (A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin). It was hard to narrow it down to just one from the massive host of characters in the ASOIAF universe, and this probably seems like a bit of a random choice, but I actually adore Viserys’ character. Not because I think he’s secretly a good person or anything like that – I love him as a tragic villain. He’s multifaceted and interested and his relationship with Dany is horrible and compelling. I wish he hadn’t died as early as he does, especially in the show, because Harry Lloyd’s performance remains one of my favorites in the entire series.
Who are some of your favorite minor characters? Comment and let me know!