*Spoiler Alert: There’s spoilers in here for The Hunger Games, Shades of Magic, Lunar Chronicles and Grishaverse because I couldn’t talk about some of my favorite characters without fleshing out their truly tragic backstories and such. Proceed with caution*
It’s actually rare for me to not be deeply in love with the main character of a book, but there’s a few series where a background character has really stolen the show- and my undying love and devotion. I most definitely have a Type for these secondary characters, which usually involves a quote along the lines of “I’m not a pirate, I’m a privateer.” If a character says that line during any book, it’s safe to assume that they are Mine now and you will absolutely see me lay down my life to protect them.
Some other commonalities between these characters:
-All men. Don’t know what that says about me but… protect these boys.
-75% of them have SOMETHING to do with water??? It’s weird.
-They’re all introduced in the second book of the series.
-They all have a great relationship with the main female of the series. I live for those BROTPs.
-They’re SASSY. They’re all a bunch of SARCASTIC LITTLE SHITS. I love them.
Finnick Odair, THE HUNGER GAMES
Oh, my poor sweet Finnick. He did not deserve what happened to him. He starts out as a potential enemy to Katniss and slowly grows into a reluctant associate, then a tentative ally and finally a trusted friend. He became someone that Katniss could talk to and be comfortable around and -YOU GUYS IM TEARING UP- and he was a good friend to Peeta and a loving partner to Annie and UGH!!!!! FINNICK DESERVED BETTER OK?? He suffered through the horrors of being a sex slave in the Capitol and putting it all on the forefront to help the rebellion and eventually gave his life to save the others. Katniss was forced to LEAVE HIM THERE TO BE MAULED BY MUTTS. OH MY GOD. He deserved to live and-oh what’s that? He did? And he’s living happily with Annie and his son? Cool, that’s great, bye.
Favorite line: “Better not to give into it. It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” Also honorable mention for “She crept up on me.”
Nikolai Lantsov, GRISHAVERSE
Art by Nicole Deal!
The first of my two beloved privateers! Nikolai is an INCREDIBLE character and he’s the only one on this list to get a series of his own! He’s introduced as a completely different person, who you love, and then you find out he’s actually a royal prince and oh wow, YOU LOVE HIM EVEN MORE! He really wants what’s best for his country and he wants to be a good man and a good king. Alina really doesn’t like or trust him at first but he grows to be a great friend and possible love interest (WHO, BY THE WAY, IS ONE MILLION INFINITY TIMES BETTER THAN MAL). He comes from a pretty awful family but he stands up against them when they do wrong and oh guess what? Another character who DIDN’T DESERVE WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM! Luckily HE’s still alive but he got frickin turned into a DEMON. He was a literal DEMON who had little to no sense of himself. Christ.
Favorite line: (honestly so many) but “‘Nikolai,’ he corrected. ‘But I’ve been known to answer to ‘sweetheart’ or ‘handsome.'”
Carswell Thorne, LUNAR CHRONICLES
Art by Tara Spruit!
My only non-water boy who makes up for it because he’s a SPACE BOY!!! A cocky, sarcastic fugitive playboy who falls for the sweet girl and is the annoying best friend of the main character (who I also really really love, shout out Cinder)? YES, I’ll take five, thanks. I knew immediately that I would love Thorne from the second that Cinder falls into his prison cell because their banter was amazing and all of their time spent on the run together and throughout the rest of the series is fantastic. He becomes a true friend to Cinder (because only TRUE friends would high five you as you are being coronated Queen of an alien planet) and a sweet boyfriend to Cress. He’s great.
Favorite line: “‘How are your eyes?’ She asked. ‘Well, I’ve been told they’re dreamy, but I’ll let you decide for yourself.'” Honorable mention to ‘No. I’m pretty sure it was Cinder.”
Alucard Emery, SHADES OF MAGIC
Art by Ryu!
Another privateer! There’s SO much I love about Alucard and it’s insane how much love I’m able to give him when I already have so much set aside for Kell, Lila, Rhy AND Holland. Geez, these books are just SO GOOD. First, he’s BEST FRIENDS, yes BFFS for LIFE with Miss Delilah Bard herself, even though both of them say they regret ever becoming friends and should’ve killed each other when they had the chance, THEY’RE LIARS BECAUSE THEY LOVE EACH OTHER. Second, he and Rhy are SO cute! Third, Kell HATES him and it’s fan-frickin-tastic banter when Kell gets jealous of how close he is with Lila AND Rhy- mUAHHAHA!!! IT’S ALL SO GREAT. He’s a super powerful magician who mentors and teaches Lila and then grows to genuinely care about her and is hurt when she doesn’t seem to consider him a friend, which OW- hurts ME, thank you very much. He went through hell and back to prove to Rhy that he loves him and oh man, he’s just a fantastic character. HE HAS A CAT NAMED ESA THAT HE LOVES. YES, ALUCARD IS MY FAVORITE ON THIS LIST. I hope Victoria never takes him from me. It is law, Alucard will live forever, amen.
Favorite line: (UGH greatest challenge of my LIFE was narrowing this down to two) “Stop fucking with the ship” and “I’m sorry…For whoever hurt you so deeply that you see friends and fondness as weapons instead of shields.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these characters and if you have any other recommendations for books with great secondary characters! 🙂