My favorite NPC got to be the torchbearer. Those poor guys have always to fear for their lives. Most of the time they're treated like some sort of slave with a "sacrifice" option. Some like to call them meat shields or trap-grinders. To be honest, I have killed them too, instead of harming a PC. Who wouldn't?
But is there a braver soul than the torchbearer among the NPCs?
No, there is not. The grit it needs to take a burning stick into dark places, with no backup from the people that hired you, no weapons and possible maiming or even death in the near future, is most admirable.
Love to DM those guys, too.