So let’s talk about some excellent examples of heroic leaders.
From the moment my brother introduced me to the Lord of the Rings films, I adored Aragorn. I loved him for his subtle complexities, his strength in battle, but also his leadership and his noble qualities. He is a ranger by trade but a king at heart, leading with skill and looking out for his companions at all costs.
But of course, Aragorn isn’t eager to be a leader. He prefers to stay in the shadows, never acknowledging his strength or status. He didn’t claim to be superior than anyone else. In fact he feared his heritage, worrying that he was destined to suffer the same fate as Iseildur.
Yet, when the world needs him to step up, he takes on the responsibility, conquering his inner demons and fears of failure. So often rulers must live in the shadow of their predecessors, either living up to their successes or in spite of their failures. Aragorn is a great example of the second and he remains one of my major character crushes. I love me some quiet, noble strength.
Kelsea is the leader of another sort, from a newer fantasy work, Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johnson. I appreciated this book because it focused on a lot of the technicals of being a leader, especially those that arise from not growing up in the court. Kelsea has been protected for years from those who might have her killed. When she comes of age she is spirited back to the throne and must quickly prove her metal over those who would see her deposed or killed.
Kelsea deals not only with possible invaders from other countries but with threats from within the council. She often has to tiptoe around issues, walking a thin line between wisdom and foolishness. But she ultimately makes the right decisions, proving herself to her people along the way.
I really respect Kelsea because she isn’t an idealized female ruler. She has her flaws and often is in way over her head. But she acknowledges her weaknesses, turns to others for help, and works logically through problems, as any good leader would.
Hope you enjoyed the spotlight this week! Come back next week for a look at our next hero archetype: The Fighter. Until then, happy writing!