Critters and Creatures in Geekdom

by Amy Ratcliffe

As much as I like the human characters in my favorite stories, I often love the animal companions by their side more. It’s true that I’m a sucker for cute critters, but the attachment is about more than the “aww” factor. Critters and creatures who befriend our favorite characters are important to the story. Sometimes they jump in to save characters’ lives, and other times it’s just about offering support, listening when no one else will, or being there to go on adventures. For those reasons and more, these are some of the critters in geekdom that I love best (warning: mild spoilers for season one of Game of Thrones and Avatar: The Last Airbender):



 Appa (vote to bring this to the Gallery!)

In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Appa was an invaluable member of Team Avatar. The sky bison shared a bond with Aang and for a long time, he was one of Aang’s only connections to his airbending past. Appa was more than Aang’s best friend though. He looked out for those who supported Aang and carried them around the nations, often rescuing them from harm even if it put him in grave danger. The saddest episodes of the animated series were the lost Appa stories. He was separated from the group, treated poorly, and fought to get back to Aang’s side. I tear up just thinking about their reunion scene.

 Dire Brew


The Starks and Jon Snow each got a direwolf puppy in Game of Thrones. I can’t choose a favorite because most of them have saved their owners at least once. Jon’s direwolf Ghost has rescued him and other members of the Night’s Watch repeatedly (their relationship is closer in A Song of Ice and Fire, but you can see their connection in the television series). Bran Stark’s wolf Summer saved his life for the first time in Winterfell and is loyal to his master. Robb Stark’s wolf Grey Wind has been a strong ally and ferocious soldier. I don’t know that I’d want to curl up with any of the direwolves, but I’d sleep more soundly if they were protecting me.


Hello Tiger


Who doesn’t want a best friend like Hobbes? He offers life advice, he’s there to pick you up or snark at you when things aren’t going your way, he’s funny, and he’s always ready for play time. Except for his annoying pouncing habit, he’s pretty much the perfect companion. He may be a stuffed animal to everyone else, but to Calvin, he’s a loyal pal who makes the world more bearable. We could all use a friend like that, real or imaginary.

 Snowman Competition


Frozen’s Olaf isn’t exactly an animal, but I’d classify him as a magical creature. He’s chipper, thoughtful, and completely hilarious – often unintentionally. I’ve seen Frozen more times than I care to admit, and his deadpan deliveries still make me laugh out loud every freaking time. He sticks with Anna throughout her quest to help her sister and bring summer back to Arendelle and helps her when she nearly freezes to death. I want to give all my warm hugs to you, Olaf!


mother drag

 Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion

Yes, another entry from Game of Thrones. Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion came into Daenerys Targaryen’s life at just the right time. She became a stronger person in control of her destiny in season one but hatching the dragons helped her transform into a Khaleesi and a Queen (and the rest of her dozens of titles). They protect and love her, and even if they’re wild and unpredictable, I imagine they’ll be helpful in conquering Westeros when/if she ever gets there.

Which animal companions in geekdom do you like best? Jump to the comments and let us know.


amy-pho Amy Ratcliffe is the author and owner of! Amy is also a contributing writer to several well known blogs and publications. She’s also known for her appearances at conventions and you can keep track of where she’ll be right here.