1. Kim Harrison’s Jenks, a Pixie (from the Hollows series) v. Jim Butcher’s Bob, a Skull (from the Harry Dresden series)
Kim Harrison’s witch-turned-day walking demon heroine Rachel Morgan has a jokey, energetic and utterly adorable pixie as a business partner, one who can even shift into Human Size with the right spell. Without him, God only knows how Rachel would fare with the many, many threats (a psychotic demon, “free” vampires, exploding spells, interspecies dating, among others) that face the Hollows, the city of Cincinnati, and the world at large.
Jim Butcher’s wizard PI Harry Dresden has “Bob,” an air spirit inhabiting a very cool looking skull. And Bob is one funny, kick-ass Skull, with a wealth of magic spells at its, er, his disposal. Seriously, he knows everything.
WINNER: Jenks, because, when turned into a fully-grown human, he looked fine. I mean, seriously, seriously hot. Also his ability to move through small spaces (and move fast!) is darn helpful when fighting bad guys. Plus he’s a great father and husband. We are mad for “Bob,” but we are doubtful of his parenting skills.
2. George R.R. Martin’s Samwell Tarly (from a Song of Fire & Ice series aka Game of Thrones) v. Tolkien’s Samwise Gamgee (from the Lord of the Rings trilogy)
Samwell Tarly is the clumsy, well intentioned coward-in-resident of the Night’s Watch. Unlike his erstwhile buddy, Jon Snow, Samwell thinks that reading, singing, and eating are more worthwhile pursuits than killing White Walkers beyond the wall—although he has been known to rescue some damsels-in-distress.
Like Samwell Tarly, LOTR’s Samwise Gamgee is a big fan of all things food-related. He’s determined to a fault, loyal to the end, and his bromance with Frodo is totally truly awe-inspiring—really one of the most beautiful relationships in all of fantasy.
WINNER: Samwell Tarly. Although both are stalwart friends, only one of them has ever discovered a cache of dragonglass and killed a crazy snow-zombie, or saved an innocent baby from dying of exposure—and that’s Samwell Tarly. We love Samwise Gamgee, but let’s be real—when push comes to shove, he’s more likely to give Gollum a cooking lesson than clonk him over the head.
3. Sir Terry Pratchett’s Luggage (from the Discworld series) v. China Miéville’s Curdle the Milk Carton (from the novel Un Lun Dun)
Pratchett’s Luggage is basically what we wish all luggage would be: sentient, able to grow thousands of tiny legs at will, and fondly described as being “half suitcase, half homicidal maniac.” Take that, airport security!
Curdle the Milk Carton
Miéville’s Curdle the Milk Carton is the most impressively named sidekick ever. An empty milk-carton living in Miéville’s surreal interpretation of London in Un Lun Dun (aka UnLondon), he sticks reassuringly close by to a pair of young girls as they navigate a realm where broken umbrellas are sentient, people only walk on rooftops, and pollution is really, really, really bad.
WINNER: The Luggage. Much as we love Curdle, a puppy dog-like milk carton really is no match for an ambulatory valise who is ready to go on a killing spree at the drop of a hat. Also, we suspect luggage would just plain find Curdle tasty, so there’s that….
4. Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Willow v. J.K. Rowling’s Hermione (from the Harry Potter series)
Buffy’s Willow Rosenberg starts out as a nerdy high school wallflower, but over the series develops into a smart, sexy, passionate, and confident (if it at times erratic) young witch who provides emotional and magical support for all her friends, and, sometimes, the whole universe.
Hermione Granger went from a bossy know-it-all to a brave and brilliant best friend (and one beautiful young lady!). Never as universally liked by her classmates as the other two members of the Golden Trio, she nevertheless saved the world (and Harry and Ron’s GPA!) many times over.
WINNER: Hermione. Don’t hate us. Please, please don’t hate us. In the end, it’s Hermione, because if there is one thing Hermione is, it’s consistent and steady in the midst of great chaos. We cannot say the same for Willow, much as we love her! They do get equal points for having great hair, though.
5. Star Wars’ Chewbacca v. The Princess Bride’s Fezzik
Both are fuzzy, extraordinarily large, and communicate in a unique series of utterances. As Han Solo’s bff and first mate, Chewbacca is one of the most memorable and honorable sidekicks ever created. His calm demeanor balances Han Solo’s egoism. And while he is peaceful, he is also very much a warrior capable of protecting a myriad of important figures.
William Golden’s Fezzik is a lovable, if a bit doofy, companion to Westley. He’s brawny, but he’s got brains too… and he rhymes better than some poets do.
WINNER: Chewbacca. Hands down. Always, always, always Chewbacca. He’s the soul of the Rebel Alliance. And he was inspired by George Lucas’ own dog!
6. The Vampire Diaries’ Alaric vs. Supernatural’s Bobby Singer
The Vampire Diaries’ Alaric can drink his vampire best friend Damon Salvatore under the table, and he has an amazing ability to appear at just the right times even though he’s technically on “the other side.” He takes care of his students and his family as best as he can, even if he hasn’t the foggiest notion of what is best for them.
Supernatural’s similarly deceased (but not really dead!) father figure Bobby Singer is there for the Winchester brothers in through thick and thin—in the midst of an apocalypse or an existential crisis. He’s always willing to offer quality advice and a glass of cheap whiskey, but they just better not give him any crap, the idjits!
WINNER: Bobby Singer. So hard to choose (we love them both!), but Bobby Singer makes infinitely better decisions (in life and in the afterlife) and is far less volatile when hitting the Jack Daniels. We adore Alaric, but the guy can get a little out of hand.
7. John Watson v. 11th Doctor/Dr Who’s Companion Rory Williams
John Watson is a particular kind of sidekick: he’s the guy that keeps an arguably sociopathic genius anchored to the real world. While Sherlock is busy solving crimes based on minutia only he would notice, Watson forces his partner to also consider human nature (and also, to eat). With a military past, a medical degree, and propensity for the ladies, Watson is arguably the gear that keeps the Sherlockian engine running.
Rory Williams aka Rory Pond aka Rory the Roman also has a military past; he once was a cyborg Roman centurion. Rory’s the boy who waited—always there for Amy and the Doctor, whether that means protecting a time-capsule prison for thousands of years, or getting rid of an ill-advised mullet, or basically anything in all of time and space.
WINNER: John Watson. John. Friggin’. Watson. Yes, Rory Williams has a gun in his hand and is technically immortal, but come on—he is a pushover. Also, dying is kind of his thing. We’re convinced sometimes he just dies to get laughs. We love Rory the Roman, but there is no way he could take on the esteemed Doctor Watson.
8. Kevin Hearne’s Oberon (from the Iron Druid series) or Charlaine Harris’ Sam Merlotte (from the Sookie Stackhouse novels/True Blood)
Kevin Hearne’s Oberon provides invaluable support to his Druid master Atticus in their many battles against dark elves, evil gods, and ancient vampires. An Irish wolfhound with a Shakespearian name, he is a loyal companion and has a nasty bite when it comes to defending his master.
Charlaine Harris’ Sam Merlotte may only be a part-time shifter (he has a very strenuous day job as a small business owner, obviously!), but he’s loyal to his employees, his girlfriends, his friends, and even his difficult pup of a brother and very sleazy parents. Oh, and he’s quite attractive in his human state. Indeed.
WINNER: Oberon, clearly, as Sam Merlotte so often loses out in the love/life/luck category. And even when he wins, everyone is still mad at him! Sometimes being in a human body really is a drag.
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