Learn all about the companion archetype, including definition, characteristics, examples and how it relates to the Caregiver archetype.
What is the Companion Archetype?
Every Batman needs a Robin, every Holmes needs a Watson.
These ‘partners’ to the main protagonist which are so familiar in all cultures are prime examples of the companion archetype at play.
The sidekick always ready to assist the hero, never the main focus of the story but always key to moving the action along, the companion is the eyes and ears of the viewer or reader in the story.
They allow us to go on the journey with the protagonist – to question and understand how they see the world and why they act as they do. They allow us to feel we are partaking in the action, assisting the protagonist in making their deductions or in taking the steps they need to achieve their goal.
They allow us to understand the workings of the mind of the protagonist through questioning and observation. However, the archetypal companion can be much more than this.
Companion Archetype Characteristics & Traits
- They are a fiercely loyal and trustworthy platonic friend, always able to be relied upon in times of trouble and ready to act when required with resourcefulness and bravery in the aid of their friend.
- They provide a shoulder to cry on and can be a tremendous source of emotional support.
- They are tenacious and unselfish, acting in the interests of their friends over and above themselves.
- However, the archetypal companion can tend to lose themselves in their friendships or relationships with those around them.
- They place their whole identity in how they relate to others rather than developing a keen sense of themselves.
- They allow others to express their opinions before expressing theirs, often moulding their thoughts to fit rather than stating what they really think.
- They can be blindly loyal to the point of danger and easily taken advantage of.
- They can become obsessive and needy about those on whom they place their affections.
Companion Archetype Examples
Other examples of the companion archetype from culture include Chewbacca – companion of Han Solo from the Star Wars movies, Timon and Pumbaa – companions of Simba in The Lion King, Sergeant Lewis from the Inspector Morse series and British comedy duo Morecambe and Wise
Further reading on the companion archetype includes:
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes – Arthur Conan Doyle
- Sunshine and Laughter: The Story of Morecambe & Wise – Louis Barfe