While they were not in the books they were great characters.
The prequels to Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings trilogy have had a mixed reception upon release. They introduced a large cast of new characters such as the thirteen dwarves in Thorin Oakenshields company many of these were pulled straight from the book but to fill up the time required for three full length movies extra characters had to be brought in.The new characters include both heroes and villains and some gray ones who sat in the middle. Some were drawn from other areas of Tolkiens work like Legolas and Radagast while others were completely new characters like Alfrid Lickspittle created to serve the new storylines involved in Jacksons Hobbit trilogy.
Alfrid is one of the characters created entirely for Peter Jacksons movies with no mention of the character in any of Tolkiens works. Alfrid Lickspittle is a servant and counselor to the Master of Laketown and is opposed to Bard the Bowman believing him to be a troublemaker who could undermine the Masters authority.Despite his loyalty to the Master he has shown no such courtesy in return being kicked off the Masters barge as they try to flee from Smaug. He has also shown to be a coward running away from the Battle of the Five Armies with all the gold he can carry.Two other characters created by Jackson are Sigrid and Tilda daughters of Bard the Bowman who appear in the last two movies. Sigrid is the elder of the two and acts as has taken on a greater responsibility to her siblings following the death of their mother.
They are mainly there to enhance Bards character and add in some backstory helping to support his expanded role in the films as he becomes the hero of Laketown and leads its people forward after the Masters demise and have little impact on the story themselves.Saruman is a major villain in the Lord of the Rings but he has not yet succumbed to the temptation of power by the time of the Hobbit. He has the leader of the order of wizards which Gandalf belongs to and one of the most powerful beings in Middle Earth.While Saruman is not a character in the book his actions in the movies are based on other areas of Tolkiens work where Saruman joined the White Council along with Gandalf and several of the most important elves to counter the threat posed by the Necromancer of Dol Guldur. The movies mainly use his scenes to show the beginning of his fall as he forgets his purpose in Middle Earth.