First Person Peripheral Narrator

Anonymous asked: Can you think of any stories where the main character isn’t the ‘hero’? Something like if the exact story of Harry Potter was told from Ron’s perspective, and not just a ‘day in the limelight’ sort of thing.

fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment answers:

Hm, I know opinions on TV Tropes used as writing advice is mixed but I think for the purpose of this question, it’s a suitable reference.

There are a few tropes that deal with this idea although I can’t be sure which one you mean exactly. My best guess is that you’re referring to the First Person Peripheral Narrator, where the story is told from the point of view of a side character, as they are better able to observe and report on the movements of the main(s).

In literature I can think of these examples:

  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
Mostly classics, but I’m sure there are more contemporary works that have used the same technique. On the page link provided, there’s a huge list of examples across various media.
Also, there’s an anime simulcasting on Crunchyroll right now called Senyu (a slapstick, satirical comedy) where a character is introduced as the main but is joked to not be the ‘real’ hero to the point where he has to insist that he is (despite his story being given a back seat throughout). The episodes are only five minutes long each and it’s really cutesy-funny so definitely worth a watch if anime is your thing.
Further reading:
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2 thoughts on “First Person Peripheral Narrator

  1. davekheath says:

    I love TV Tropes and use it all the time.

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