Given today’s police shootings, nasty political discourse, and social movements: #metoo and Black Lives Matter, for example, I find myself wondering what happened to our heroes?
Merriam-Webster defines a hero as:
- Mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
- An illustrious warrior
- A person admired for achievements and noble qualities
- One who shows great courage
Real life heroes often depend on a political or religious context. The heroes I’m wondering about are those that transcend all that and inspire and motivate us all. I believe for a hero to rise above all others, they must cause mere mortals to ask themselves – “how would [fill in your hero here] handle this situation?”
I’ll be the first to admit that asking myself this question caused a small existential crisis. Mainly because I couldn’t name one. So, I compiled a list of fictional characters I though might be my heroes.
- Indiana Jones – because he is brave, works for the noble cause of getting items into museums and not into private collections, and because he’s loyal – for the most part and shows great courage. He is a flawed character, but we learn from his flaws and we are all flawed to some extent.
- Harry Potter – because the evil he faces is one we all face, whether to succumb to an overbearing evil force, or to assert your individuality in a bid for freedom of everyone. He shows great courage, especially for an 11-year old in the first book, has descended from great wizards and fights for a noble cause.
- Hermione Granger – because she thinks things through and researches up to the point where something must be done, then she boldly goes forward with courage and leadership. Education and information support her but don’t limit her. If she must, she is willing to go beyond the known. She values friends and great institutions.
- Elizabeth Swan – pirates of the Caribbean – because she knows one true love, and is willing to fight pirates, her father, the Royal Navy, and the natural elements to get it. She has inner strength and courage she doesn’t see until called to use it. I think that is true of everyone.
- Han Solo – not just because Harrison Ford was so devilishly handsome in the first movie (and let’s face it, he still is), but because the character was reluctant to take on the hero role. Yet he shows courage and noble intent in the end.
And the winner is — Harry Potter. Which raises a concern for me. I couldn’t come up with a female hero that resonated as much as Harry does. I’m hoping to change that with a character in my latest manuscript. She has become a hero to me.
Grace Flameson a freshman in high school, doesn’t see herself as a hero, in fact she thinks she’s a failure, and yet when the occasion (and pirates and Nazis) confront her she takes on the challenge and (spoiler alert) wins. I’m shopping for an agent and or publisher for this tale, which combines two exciting elements – time travel and sea battles. Keep your fingers crossed for me – or as Harry would say – “No one should have that much power,” no wait, that’s not what he’d say. He’d say, “Working hard is important. But there is something that matters even more, believing in yourself.”