The Heroic Sidekick

January 7, 2010 at 12:52 am (general life)

Today’s Beijing adventures will be posted around 9pm Canberra time at . Our plans for today are just too cool to share here and spoil the surprise. I will say that (a) I’m wearing pants today – no dress. (b) There’s a chair involved. A very special chair.


Not everyone should be a hero. Some people are made to be the heroic sidekick. A mum or dad is a hero of their family story, but a marriage often has an epic member and a supporting member (which tends to work better than two heroes). Or, outside of the home, the story of a mum or dad might be a sidekick story eg they’re the support staff for a politician running for office (we’re assuming here that the politician is worth following). Most of us are a mix of heroic sidekick and hero, with a weighting toward heroic sidekick.

I’m a rubbish sidekick, which is unfortunate. Sidekicks made the world go around, and they are necessary to every hero. Nothing actually gets done without sidekicks. Sidekicks are perceived to be less attractive (usually – although Legolas is a heroic sidekick), and they don’t wield as much influence as heroes do. (One reason I need to be a hero – if I’m going to inspire others, being a hero works much better than being a sidekick.) They’re also more adaptable than heroes (something I observed in psych class many years ago), MUCH happier, better company, and much funnier. They usually get the girl – certainly more often than the hero, because the hero is so wrapped up in their epic they rarely touch the earth. Plus I think the girl can see that the sidekick will treat them better than the hero ever will (he’s too busy saving the world).

Frodo is the main hero of “Lord of the Rings”. (Aragorn, too, but that’s literally another story. Aragorn is also Frodo’s sidekick. Everyone plays more than one part.) Samwise Gamgee is the ultimate heroic sidekick. He suffers a huge amount for a great cause (because he’s an epic sidekick), which happens to also be a personal cause – I would argue that his cause is NOT actually destroying the ring, but being Frodo’s friend. His story is more beautiful than Frodo’s for that reason.

He also fights really well, cooks well, and ultimately – when Frodo’s strength is utterly gone – literally carries the hero. He is stronger than Frodo, and is never corrupted by the ring. His fight scenes are also more interesting, because a sidekick isn’t quite so deadly serious all the time.

Heroes don’t make good friends. (Mother Theresa, incidentally, was often invited to address influential people, and never failed to offend every single person in the room. She’d also withhold painkillers from her patients, because pain builds character. Betcha didn’t know that.) Sidekicks make the best friends, the most memorable characters, and the most noble heroes.



  1. Ann said,

    Interesting perspective.
    What if you are neither a hero or a sidekick though…… I cant visualise myself in either role really..

    • felicitybloomfield said,

      Hmm. By my current theory, you fit reasonably well into both categories.

      Independent, intelligent, doesn’t suffer fools gladly: hero.

      Loyal, supportive, and able to hold down a job: heroic sidekick.

      I think it all depends on what you want (and obviously there are several strands of want in every life). If you want something that you’ve begun yourself (eg becoming a ballerina), you’re a hero in that strand. If you want something that is part of someone else’s dream (eg performing in someone’s play) that is (mostly/usually) sidekick.

      I’d love to know what you want from life (you too, Ben).

      • Ben (Crispin) said,

        I’d like to know what I want from life, too…

  2. Ben (Crispin) said,

    Maybe you’re an Anti-Hero…
    …or an Anti-Sidekick…

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