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Old 03-30-2008, 07:00 PM   #1
Lyndon Eye
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What Makes a Good Sidekick?

Many of our favorite heroes have sidekicks.

Batman had Robin.

Tom Sawyer had Huckleberry Finn.

Sherlock Holmes had Watson.


And of course, Harry Potter had Ron, and to a lesser (or greater, depending on your definition) extent, Hermione.


Just some food for thought:

-What makes a good sidekick?

-What role is the sidekick supposed to fulfill?

-Why do the villains never have sidekicks and only henchmen/servants?

-And (most relevant to DLP): Can Ron Weasley be considered a good sidekick? Can Hermione Granger?
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:05 PM   #2
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I'd say that a good sidekick is someone who is not a redhead.

Nah, Ron Weasley is a good sidekick, I think, despite the fact I dislike him. He's stupid, jaleous, backstabbing kind of friend, but can be useful once in a while. Like... helping Harry mastering the Cruciatus Curse.
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:16 PM   #3
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The role of the sidekick is to show the great enduring friendship of the hero as opposed to the utilitarian, solitary emotional disposition of the villain. The villain is alone because he has no love, and the point of sidekicks is to demonstrate the hero's. Also, perhaps to show power in unity, because the only way to beat a Powerful Dark Lord is to team up. Unfair bastards, lol.
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Old 03-30-2008, 07:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndon Eye View Post
-What makes a good sidekick?
Loyalty and competence, mainly. Loyalty is an obvious necessity in a follower of any importance, and competence is necessary for a follower to be important.

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Originally Posted by Lyndon Eye View Post
-What role is the sidekick supposed to fulfill?
Several. A sidekick can be a useful foil for ideas, or source of otherwise unusual information. There's also the potential uses in combat, and in sensitive duties that the central character is too busy to handle.

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Originally Posted by Lyndon Eye View Post
-Why do the villains never have sidekicks and only henchmen/servants?
Largely because villains don't establish a stable power structure. They're always looking to advance, and they'll do whatever it takes to do so. A sidekick requires trust, and it's not possible to trust someone who'll stab you in the back at the first opportunity. That said, there are villains who do have people that they trust to such an extent, but they still keep the relationship distant, so it lacks the personal quality that hero-sidekick relationships have.

A lot of the issue here is that a stable relationship almost always involves a sharing of power in some sense or another, and most villains are absolute dictators.

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-And (most relevant to DLP): Can Ron Weasley be considered a good sidekick? Can Hermione Granger?
Neither can. Ron is disloyal and incompetent, requires an excessive investment of time for a return that is modest at best and poor in average circumstances, and will abandon Harry without a second thought. Hermione is too focused on herself to be a suitable sidekick, and wants Harry to be dependent on her, which could be a fatal fault, with impacts potentially extending to affect the entire wizarding world. Neither even qualifies as a good friend, much less a good sidekick.

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Old 03-30-2008, 07:30 PM   #5
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A REALLY good sidekick isn't really a sidekick at all -
1) He's intelligent, with a contrasting viewpoint and a type of education that makes him a good sounding board for ideas
2) His morals are functionally close to those of the hero (not necessarily identical)
3) Neither a whiner, or unreasonably optimistic.
4) Has his own useful skill set, complementary to those of the hero
5) Self-starting, and well-capable of independant action.
6) NOT a bootlicker, yes-man, or trained seal.
7) He's loyal, either to the hero or to the hero's cause.

He enhances and complements the hero's strengths, covers the hero's failings.
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Old 03-30-2008, 08:29 PM   #6
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The most important trait a sidekick should exhibit is predictability. Communication is not always possible - especially when you need it most.

Because of this, knowing that you can rely on the sidekick to decide things a certain way makes cooperation much easier.
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:22 PM   #7
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If the main hero ever loses a fight (how many times does that happen in batman?) he can go drinking and take out his woes on said unsuspecting sidekick.

I lol'd at the thought of a drunk batman slurring his words and brandishing a whiskey bottle at Robin while calling for Batgirl to make herself useful and get the bed warmed up.
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Old 03-31-2008, 05:38 PM   #8
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Speaking of Batman, the main reason his relationship with the Robins was because of the hot pants. Not because of the whole gay aspect, but because of the superiority he felt from demeaning Robin. And since Batman makes Robin feel inferior, he automatically puts himself in a postion of power in Robin's mind. Thus having a loyal sidekick, who's open to becoming like Batman, but always holding him up to mythical proportions.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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Speaking of Batman, the main reason his relationship with the Robins was because of the hot pants. Not because of the whole gay aspect, but because of the superiority he felt from demeaning Robin. And since Batman makes Robin feel inferior, he automatically puts himself in a postion of power in Robin's mind. Thus having a loyal sidekick, who's open to becoming like Batman, but always holding him up to mythical proportions.


And then one day, Robin went out alone in the Batmobile, and met a Very Friendly girl, who took him out dancing and drinking, and didn't even insist on paying, unlike all the "liberated" women he had met before. After they gyrated on the dance floor for a while, she led him by the hand back to the parking lot, where she showed him just HOW inconvenient bucket seats can be.
Robin got back to the mansion well after dawn. The next evening, he looked in the mirror and decided to change his image.
Thus, Nightwing was born.

Boy was the Bat PISSED.
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:41 PM   #10
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Lol. Nah Batman kicked his ass to the curb. Little Robin was just getting too old for his tastes. That's the real reason Dick Grayson decided to become Nightwing.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:00 PM   #11
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...I don't get how Ron is disloyal besides the one instance in GoF - he was 15.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:01 PM   #12
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Batman had all sorts of sidekicks, really...though I suppose only Robin got to ride shotgun in the Batmobile.

Back on topic: I think that a drive to reach the same goals as the hero, yet a firm knowledge and acceptance of their role as second fiddle, makes for a good sidekick. I
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:35 PM   #13
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...I don't get how Ron is disloyal besides the one instance in GoF - he was 15.
You didn't read DH? He pulled another bitch move, and he was I believe 17 at the time. Granted, he did return to them eventually, but he proved once again he is a fickle friend that lets his emotions get the best of him, and is capable of deserting his best friends for selfish reasons. Sure he made up later, but a true friend sticks with you through the highs and the lows, not doing what Ron did.

Ron is a bitch plain and simple. A mediocre, jealous, petulant, inferiority complex having, mostly useless bitch at that. He does nothing for Harry but waste his time and distract him from what's important.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:46 PM   #14
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You didn't read DH? He pulled another bitch move, and he was I believe 17 at the time. Granted, he did return to them eventually, but he proved once again he is a fickle friend that lets his emotions get the best of him, and is capable of deserting his best friends for selfish reasons. Sure he made up later, but a true friend sticks with you through the highs and the lows, not doing what Ron did.

Ron is a bitch plain and simple. A mediocre, jealous, petulant, inferiority complex having, mostly useless bitch at that. He does nothing for Harry but waste his time and distract him from what's important.
No I didn't actually. Oops
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:32 AM   #15
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Ron is a bitch plain and simple. A mediocre, jealous, petulant, inferiority complex having, mostly useless bitch at that. He does nothing for Harry but waste his time and distract him from what's important.
True, true. But isn't that what makes him a good sidekick?

I think one of the most important functions of the sidekick is to act as a foil for the hero. For instance, Sherlock Holmes' brilliance wouldn't be so amazing if we didn't have Watson's mediocrity to compare it to (hmm... just another thought, perhaps a good sidekick just needs to be average? Like us? That way, it emphasizes the uniqueness of the hero).

Ron, if nothing else, certainly highlights Harry's qualities. As lazy as Harry is, Ron makes him look like a workaholic. As rude as Harry may be at times, Ron makes him look like a saint.

Indeed, I'd argue that if the sidekick ever overshadowed the hero (*cough* Hermione), then the author didn't do a very good job with creating the role.
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:48 AM   #16
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The difficulty with that argument is that while the internal comparisons are accurate, Harry is the average one, and Ron is just nigh-useless. Sure, when Ron is around, Harry looks better, but Ron only drags Harry down in the end, which is the exact opposite of what a sidekick does. Ron isn't the sidekick, he's the utter failure that exists to show just how comparatively awesome the hero is.

Watson, it should be noted, was likely more talented than most police inspectors, or at least on a fairly similar level to them - it's just that Holmes outshone him so very much, in addition to being the very driving force of his much more limited talents. In addition, he had talents of his own, independent of Holmes. If anything, this just further emphasized Holmes' ability.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:01 AM   #17
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Ron isn't the sidekick, he's the utter failure that exists to show just how comparatively awesome the hero is.
And my argument is that the primary role of the sidekick is to emphasize the good qualities of the hero. Which would make Ron the perfect sidekick.



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Watson, it should be noted, was likely more talented than most police inspectors, or at least on a fairly similar level to them - it's just that Holmes outshone him so very much... this just further emphasized Holmes' ability.
Again, Watson's main role is to make us appreciate just how great Holmes is. We, the reader, are on Watson's level and can relate to him. But Holmes, the hero, is miles above that.

The sidekick isn't meant to be useful, I don't think (Ron certainly isn't, in the conventional sense of the word. And Hermione's too useful, which prompts many to dislike her as a character, which is why her character doesn't make a very good sidekick). From a literary standpoint, the primary role of the sidekick is just to provide a contrast to our hero and a comparison that emphasizes said hero's heroicism.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:22 AM   #18
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Ron hinder's instead of helps. Yes, he makes Harry look better than average, but a sidekick's main objective is to help the hero. Sure, the sidekick can goof up a few times, but he needs to be of some use.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:24 AM   #19
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If itís a female sidekick we are talking about, then she better be fucking fantastic in bed, otherwise she is worthless. In fact the only competent female sidekick, which I can recall is Mystique, but she is never completely loyal to one person, so my original point of female sidekick being worthless, unless she is great at giving head, sticks.

As for Ron, I donít think I can elaborate further on this;

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Ron is a bitch plain and simple. A mediocre, jealous, petulant, inferiority complex having, mostly useless bitch at that. He does nothing for Harry but waste his time and distract him from what's important.
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:40 AM   #20
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Ron is a bitch plain and simple. A mediocre, jealous, petulant, inferiority complex having, mostly useless bitch at that. He does nothing for Harry but waste his time and distract him from what's important.
QFT.

The best sidekick, according to me, would be Samwise Gamgee. He's loyal, helpful and everything I look for in a sidekick.

*Completely off topic*
Homer, did Flair lose or win at Wrestlemania?
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