When it comes to supporting characters, animal companions are amongst the most beloved tropes in modern fantasy. Why, you may ask? Because in many tales, when powerful heroes are in danger, it is these very animal companions that allow them to surmount the challenges around them. So, to celebrate these amazing supporting characters, we’ve put together a list of our favorite animal companions of all time:
1. Hedwig – Harry Potter – The Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter has become one of the world’s most famous fantasy heroes, and he’s been in the spotlight ever since the series debuted back in the 90’s. Not surprisingly, Harry’s wonderfully personable owl companion Hedwig, has also been one of the most popular continuing characters in the series. With the ability to energize Harry in those dire times when he needed it most, Hedwig gave readers a character that managed to both inspire and entertain.
2. Nighteyes – Fitz – Fool’s Quest
Nighteyes is another animal companion, that guides a story’s protagonist during times of high adventure. During Fool’s Quest, Nighteyes protects the story’s hero Fitz, and helps guide him during his time of need. Wolves are a common animal companion in many a fantasy series, but few books have captured the essence of a wolf spirit, quite like Fool’s Quest does.
3. Pantalaimon – Lyra – His Dark Materials
The amazing Lyra of His Dark Materials would get nowhere without the skills and knowledge she acquires from Pantalaimon. The daemon race that Pan comes from happens to be quite novel, and it’s that uniqueness that keeps the reader engaged every time he’s on the page. Pantalaimon helps to unlock Lyra’s true potential, and one could argue the story’s hero would never had made it far without the daemon’s help.
4. Oberon – Atticus O’Sullivan – The Iron Druid
Few characters are as admirable as the Irish Wolfhound Oberon, from The Iron Druid series. The series’ hero Atticus, adopted Oberon from a shelter out of sympathy, and realized afterwards that he could relate to the animal’s demeanor. The two bonded over time, and eventually Atticus came to realize just how useful Oberon’s talents (and telepathic abilities) can be. Throughout the book, it is suggested Oberon has emotional and cognitive abilities that are comparable to those of a regular human being, and he proves himself just as useful as the book’s other human characters many times over.