The best characters without powers in science fiction and fantasy

1977 Lucas film starring Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa here with See Threepio played by Anthony Daniels

© Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

By Heather Keane

Posted on December 1, 2016 in Books, Film, Fun Stuff with tags Fantasy and Science Fiction, Film

As we gear up for Rogue One – most likely the least Force-filled Star Wars feature film to date – we’re celebrating the ordinary folk in science fiction and fantasy. Behind every great Jedi Master is a motley crew of people with plain average midi-chlorian counts doing dirty work like stealing Death Star plans, and the same is true in loads of our favourite SFF.

1. Princess Leia from Star Wars

1977 Lucas film starring Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa here with See Threepio played by Anthony Daniels

© Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Though the next two Episodes could still change everything for Leia Organa, no self-respecting list of powerful humans in science fiction could leave her off. Continually saving the butt of her Jedi brother and her rascal on-again-off-again boyfriend, Leia is a badass of the highest degree without ever tapping into the supernatural.

2. Kowalski from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Kowalski film Harry Potter

© Atlaspix / Alamy Stock Photo

This muggle takes “bumbling” to a whole new level in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Providing a hilarious contrast to Newt’s wariness, Kowalski is the heart and soul of the movie and – no spoilers – I’m dying to find out his fate in further films.

3. Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings


© Moviestore collection Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

The Lord of the Rings is richly populated with powerless hobbits, but Sam takes the cake when it comes to the average guy who really shows up when you need him. Sam’s thick-haired ginger family never fails to make me weep with joy at the end of Return of the King.

4. Alana from Saga

Saga Comics Fiona Staples Brian K Vaughan

© Image Comics

Alana’s got wings but her seldom-used ability is not overly remarkable in a world where folk have TV screens for faces and her husband can summon lightning strikes. What is remarkable about Alana is the supreme amount of cool she possesses and her status as a total babe.

5. Adelbert Steiner from Final Fantasy 9

Steiner Final Fantasy IX 9

Stomping around in his oversized armour, Steiner’s overwhelming banality and unwillingness to adventure makes him unforgettable in a cast of characters with incredible abilities.

6. Black Widow from the Marvel Universe

Black Widow The avengers 2012 Joss Whedon Scarlett Johansson

© Collection Christophel / Alamy Stock Photo

Backbone of the Avengers, this ex-Russian spy has been through a lot and come out on top, repeatedly demonstrating the peak of the human body’s ability with jaw-dropping gymnastics and expert martial arts.


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