SIDEKICK: Sir John Falstaff
FAITHFUL COMPANION OF: Prince Henry
Large, loud, and vain, Falstaff is one of Shakespeare’s most memorable and fascinating characters. As sidekicks go, his story is decidedly sad and tragic. He is introduced in Henry IV, Part I as the somewhat corrupting influence on his young friend Hal, also known as Prince Henry, the future king of England. Keeping company with an unsavory lot, they drink and gamble and whore around, even as Hal begins to understand that his portly friend has no place in the royal court. The subsequent play finds Hal ascending to the throne — and later renouncing his old friend, who ends up in jail. It’s his grim fate, and his own unashamed pursuit of selfish interests, that makes Falstaff a favorite and endlessly compelling subject of literary scholars.
INTERESTING FACT: When preparing to shoot Raiders of the Lost Ark, director Steven Spielberg told John Rhys-Davies, who played Indy’s friend Sallah, to add a bit of Falstaff into his performance.