Friday, September 11, 2015

Hero Spotlight: Harry Potter and Vin

Welcome back! Today we’re taking a look at two great examples of chosen ones: Harry Potter and Vin.

Unless you’ve been living at the center of the earth for the past few decades, you know who Harry Potter is. My generation in particular has been inundated with wizarding culture. We practically grew up with the characters. So it’s only fair to give a shout out to Harry Potter, a chosen one in every sense of the word.

Some people take issue with Harry Potter as a character. Usually when they do, it’s for illegitimate reasons. Like the fact he has flaws. Or acts like a realistic teenage boy. Or doesn’t respond well to the pressure of losing everyone he loves.

And while I don’t have time to defend Harry against critics, I do want to use him as an example of the crushing pressure of the weight of the world on chosen ones. Because of a prophesy he didn’t ask for, Harry loses his parents in his infancy and is forced to grow up in an abusive environment. When he finds out he is a wizard, everyone he meets lauds him as some fantastic wizard, the only wizard to survive a killing curse. He is supposedly destined for great things.

But Harry is also an eleven-year-old fish out of water. He’d rather live as a normal wizard without so many expectations but he is constantly pushed into situations no child should face. He stands up to them of course, but with increasing consequences as he gets older. He even ends up with PTSD after the events of book 4.

I love these books because they show how screwed up it is to hail someone as a chosen one, especially a kid. It can have a lot of internal and external effects, all of which are explored in the books.

While Harry Potter is a prime example of why you shouldn’t build someone up as a chosen one, the Mistborn trilogy shows the inherent difficulty of interpreting a prophesy at all. One thousand years ago, a great hero was supposed to save the world. He did, but enslaved it, so we can’t really call that a win, can we? The story is set in the aftermath. But who is the real chosen one? Who was really supposed to save the world?

There are a lot of possibilities brought up throughout the books, but Vin is certainly one of the prime candidates.

Vin is one of my favorite main characters in anything ever. I love her. I love her so much. I love how she’s a survivor who wears tomboyishness and femininity with equal strength. I love to watch her work through her trust issues. I love how street smart she is. I really, really love her, just like I really, really love these books.

Not only does everyone rely on Vin to make things better, some even organize a religion around her. It’s a lot of pressure for someone who doesn’t even believe in her own capabilities. All the while, it’s hard to nail down exactly what the prophesy means or whether or not it’s even accurate. For fear of spoiling it, I can’t go into more detail, but it’s brilliant. Really. Mistborn takes a classic trope and questions its very foundation.

That’s all for this late Hero spotlight. Will be returning next week to look at the fish out of water trope! Until then, happy writing!

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