Do you like/have a reluctant ally character? [updated 2023]

I like characters that were hired to help someone with their shady dealings, but then end up tagging along and helping the entire way. You know those characters? They were only there for the money but end up going all the way and maybe even end up becoming really close friends with everyone else there.

Or they have a friend or family member that is the hero in a story that forces the character to tag along an adventure. Or the hero himself is a reluctant ally character.

In an Ancient Elgana story, Kaiver didn’t want to go save Elgana, but, he kinda cares for the falcon girl who helps him train in magick, and for the feline girl he meets along the way, and for the lizard wizard who becomes a father figure, and for his half-feline-brother he discovers.

Do you have characters like that? Do you like reading about characters like that? What do you think makes them so appealing?

What is your character like? Why are they like that?


Seeing the gradual shift from only being in it for money/convenience/common enemy/etc, to forming an emotional bond is a satisfying arc.



I so want to write a character like that now.

I’ve almost got the inverse!! Character A is grumpy and antisocial, Character B is outgoing and always on the hunt for adventure. Character B offers to help Character A with her big life goal for free since it’s an interesting quest and, since she’s out of other options, A reluctantly agrees to let B help her. A eventually realizes she likes having B around.

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Sounds like fun to write :grin: I like grumpy characters coming around. Sometimes they turn out to be softies inside :wink:

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Honestly, seeing their character development

My character Semele seems to be like that at the moment. :thinking:

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Full disclosure, I was debating whether to close this, but I just realised I am writing a character like that right now :rofl: He’s helping out a reckless friend in hopes he can maybe keep her out of danger and slowly begins to realise how much he cares for her and, by extension, her cause (which she is basically using as a means of…self-fulfilment, let’s say).

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Oh hey :smile: My old post.

I’m also writing a character that used to be a reluctant ally. He was a supporting character of the hero and took a lot of the hard stuff for the hero. That really got to him though. Now, he’s kind of opposing the hero and doesn’t want to help anymore.

But there’s a problem.

A dilemma.

The hero is his little brother.

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Took this opportunity to ask more questions :wink:

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So he’s reluctant because of the conflict between his personal beliefs and his perceived duty to his family?

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Perceived duty vs personal needs.

Mitchell is reluctant because he feels he’s always taken the hard things for his brother and he feels unappreciated and it’s getting to him mentally.

His little brother does often take him for granted, to be fair. “okay you were captured by the wicked witch and got tortured in my place. now be my personal guard for the rest of our lives because I inherited the grand power and I need you by my side. I need your help”.

Mitchell, mentally, can’t go on and he feels like his brother doesn’t understand that even the one that seems strong might be struggling inside. So, while he feels like he has the duty to protect his younger brother and help, he also can’t mentally. It’s been eating him up for years prior to the events of the story as well. He hasn’t been able to do much for himself. Always doing things for his little brother.

So, he runs away. And when his little brother comes to find him saying, “I need you back. I need your help.” Mitchell tells him to leave.

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I do like to read about them, because this is basically the same dynamic as enemies-to-lovers. Those are reluctant allies who eventually fall in love. I guess the appeal is that most of us feel misunderstood to a degree and reading about characters overcoming their differences in order to cooperate provides a sense of validation.

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