Animal Sidekicks

Think how much would be lost if all the wonderful animals that populated the Harry Potter series suddenly went missing. If Harry’s fateful letter were delivered by an ordinary postman, half the magic (quite literally) would disappear from that first scene in The Sorcerer’s Stone.

You too can make full use of the animal kingdom in your stories, regardless of the genre.

But don’t throw a cuddly puppy in for the sheer sake of cuteness. Make your animal sidekicks serve a purpose that no other character in your story can fill. The science fiction novel Storm over Warlock (Andre Norton, 1960) uses a pair of wolverines to great effect. They scout, give needed warnings of danger, hunt up provisions. They couldn’t be more useful if they came with their own Swiss army knives.

One word of caution: don’t let your animal sidekicks become too prominent in your story. They should be limited to supporting roles.

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