I struggled a little with this one at first.
I toyed with Dr. Watson, from the Sherlock Holmes stories but I didn’t think I could truly call him a side character given that he is the narrates all of the stories.
I nearly went for the wonderful creation that is Mrs Danvers from Rebecca. She is not an obvious choice as there is nothing likeable about her at all. She is unfriendly, creepy, manipulative, dangerous and unhealthily obsessed with Rebecca, but I love her because she walks right off the page and seems so real. There is one particular moment in the book when she is trying to plant the idea into the second Mrs De Winter’s head that she should commit suicide. For me, that is one of the most atmospheric and memorable scenes I have ever read.
In the end, there was only one that could take the mantle of favourite side character…
I have always had such a soft spot for Neville. He starts off as a bit of a hopeless case – socially awkward and little magical talent (his family thought he was a squib for a long time). But Neville has the heart of a lion. In order to be truly brave, you have to be scared. Neville could easily have been forgiven for wanting to hide in the background and not take a stand against Voldemort given what happened to his parents and his less than impressive magic skills. But he doesn’t do this. He has the courage to take a stand, to be loyal to his friends, to put himself in danger to fight for a cause he believes in, and in the end, J K Rowling rightly rewards him with his own moment of glory. If I had the power to make J K Rowling go back to Harry Potter, it is not what happened to Harry next that I would ask her to write. I would ask her to tell me the story of that last year in Hogwarts from Neville’s perspective, where he found the courage not only to take a stand himself, but to lead others as well. Neville Longbottom – I salute you!