Top Ten Top Tens: Day 5: Favorite Minor Characters

(Original Top Ten Tuesday by The Broke and the Bookish)


Day 5 of Top Ten Top Tens: Favorite Minor Characters


The definition of “minor” character is a difficult one to determine. There are “secondary characters” that may or may not be truly minor, as well as lynchpin characters with little page time but big impact, or even characters that aren’t physically present at all but shape the story by their absence. Sigh. Anyway, I’ve done my best to choose “minor” figures by some sort of loose definition of the term, but I’m sure there will be some disagreement.


Miss Bates (Emma by Jane Austen). Miss Bates manages to be both a sympathetic character and comic relief, thanks to Austen’s masterful handling.


Augusta Elton (Emma by Jane Austen). She is like a magnified version of Emma, one with all the ego and none of the self-awareness. She’s fun to hate.


Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling). Is he really minor? I don’t know, but I love him and he doesn’t feature prominently in many of the adventures. Plus Matthew Lewis has given us the term “Neville Longbottomed” for someone who has pulled a duckling-to-swan transformation.


Issa (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) Who would have thought that a part-cobra-part-woman chimera could be such a wonderful mother figure?


The Weasley family (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling). Ron Weasley is certainly not a minor character, but of the other Weasleys I couldn’t choose just one. The individual members are all wonderful, but in many ways the family itself is an important character.


Kia (Bone Street Rumba series by Daniel Jose Older) Though she stars in two short stories so far, Kia is minor in the first novel of Older’s series (seems like this will change in the next installment). Very rarely is a character with so little page time so captivating, but Kia really grabbed me with her fierce, uncompromising attitude.


Sandalio “Biffy” de Rabiffano (The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger). He's an over-the-top dandy, so it’s hard to put my finger on just what it is about Biffy that I like so much, but my heart breaks for him at the end of the .


The village of Cranford (Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell). Another case where an entire group takes on the importance of a character, Gaskell’s Cranford is a town almost entirely ruled by women who may gossip, but love and support one another in every circumstance.


Frances and Jet Owens, or the Aunts (Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman). They start out as shadowy and intimidating figures, but their love for their nieces comes through in the end.