Secondary characters. We don't seem to notice them much, unless they're so horribly written that we want to scream. Or maybe that's just me. What I'm trying to get at, however, is that I always seem to underestimate the power of a good secondary character. At least the "good" (in the sense of good vs. evil ones), anyway. I can always appreciate a well-written villain, no matter how much page-time they get, but I always seem to overlook other developed secondary characters in books.
Of course the development of the main characters is more critical in a story than the development of the secondary characters, but secondary characters are still important to the overall flow and plot of the story nonetheless. Because the thing is, no matter how minor a character is, they need to have depth: I don't want minor characters to be clones of each other or have no personality. That would defeat the purpose of having secondary characters. They need to have a guiding role, whether it be to disrupt the main character's path, to be the support system for other characters, provide a different outlook on the story, or something else entirely.
I noticed recently, however, that if the main characters aren't the best, I do start to pay more attention to the secondary characters. Obviously I want all characters (major or minor) to be significant, diverse, and three-dimensional, but I often struggle to recognize the lesser ones when the main characters overpower them.
If you've been on Literary Legionnaire recently, you may have read my review of a book that didn't have the most interesting protagonist out there. However, I still loved the story because it had so many incredibly unique secondary characters that really made the story special. Without these secondary characters, although the plot was interesting in and of itself, I definitely would not have enjoyed the book as much as I did. In this case, the secondary characters really made the story for me.
So, what do you all think? Do we underestimate the power of secondary characters?