Another interesting article in The Guardian, this time on hidden characters. I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days and here is the list from my own reading:
Voldemort in Harry Potter: Though he makes an appearance in book one as a hijacker Prof Quirrell’s body, for the first four books of Harry Potter, he is a spectre. He-who-must-not-be-named is always a background threat as the spectre, an image of a darkness that once tried and failed and might one day return again.
Similar to Sauron in the article…
Metatron in His Dark Materials: Another figure who works in the background summoning the dark forces for the war that is coming. We hear much about what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do if he succeeds. We know that the dark powers, the control freaks and the tyrants gravitate toward him. The church (the visible enemy) is his tool. We see him toward the end when he and Lord Asriel have a mighty punch-up.
Guild Navigators in Dune: We know what they do, what they are and toward the end of the book we know what they look like. We know they are a politically neutral force concerned only with the continuation of the market network. They want only order and for the spice to continue its flow. They are mostly an invisble force, sometimes crossing the line that they promise not to cross. This theme continues through Messiah and into Childrem.
The Auditors in Hogfather : I know this is not the only Discworld novel they appear in and I know their motives become clear elsewhere but taking Hogfather as a standalone work, they are behind the plot to assassinate Discworld’s answer to Father Christmas. They commission Lord Downey to find somebody capable and willing. They are the reason for the sum total of events in the novel ands yet they make (if I recall correctly) just two appearances, before and after the main events have taken place.