A Hero Defined :: … Or not.
Why do people read books? What’s intersting about black on white? Why not just look at an old photograph? We read books because we want stories, or more accurately, a story; a story with a Hero. A tough, strong hand to pull us from the dust. If the hero is good, it generally means that the story will be good, too. An author who writes right writes the righteous, and vice versa. (She sells sea shells…)
And there’s no hiding it: I’m a hero snob. If you write a hero poorly, I spit in your e-face, trample your hypothetical garden of roses, and frown at my screen, heart filled with dismay. I feel as though I have to step in, right the wrong you’ve committed, cry out I volunteer as tribute! Your story, as you should know better than anyone, needs better than mediocre, deserves the best you can possibly spin from your quill. A hero needs to be…
1. Good. A hero cannot be evil. Fire cannot be cold. It defies every law or rule of writing, and logic. A hero can fail, but he will be redeemed, because he is just that – the hero. He escapes the pit of despair, the grip of terror, the cage which holds him from his lover. Not only Holds the door for the lady good, but proceeds to yank door off of hinges and slam nearby villain over the head with it good.
2. The one who will do something. An intercessor. He will either stand between the warring armies with an olive branch, or charge the wrong with righteous fury glinting in his eye and sparking off his blade. He will not stand as an observer. The hero speaks the truth he knows, and encourages others to listen.
3. Indefinable. The glory of the hero concept is that, beyond being a “good guy” who wants to do something, he or she can be anything. Monstrous or infinitesimal, shy or sociable, knight or plumber. This is why “Choose you own adventure!” books work, and why twiggy, nerdy dudes sit down and write epic novels. Because they recognize that anyone can be a hero – twig, nerd, or no. Until the next…
Who is the best hero you’ve ever read?