SIDEKICK: Sancho Panza
FAITHFUL COMPANION OF: Don Quixote
In need of a “squire” to accompany him on his, well, quixotic quest across early 17th-century Spain, the famous Crazy Guy of La Mancha chooses a corpulent peasant named Sancho Panza. In his astonishingly modern novel, Miguel de Cervantes gives the coarse, unattractive, and barely literate Panza a secondary narrative voice — and, with him, creates both an oft-copied literary device and an ingenious foil to his tilting-at-windmills protagonist. Displaying the dizzying spectrum of impulses good and evil, it’s the often foolish (and sometimes criminal) Panza who provides the humor and compassion that gives the story its humanity.
INTERESTING FACT: Don Quixote, a space-mission concept developed by the European Space Agency, includes an asteroid-exploring spacecraft called Sancho.