Thursday, April 21, 2016

Heroes and Heroism: The Fighter Vs. When Strength is Not Enough

Here we are, a day late with this post! Let's hop to it!

Across every genre, there are a wide variety of heroic types, all with their different specialties and skills. One of those skills is ‘brawn’. Brawny characters jump to fighting above other avenues, relying on their strength to get them through a situation. They are often impulsive, stubborn and jump into fights they aren’t prepared for. In older action films, this brawn might be enough but in newer books and films, authors have explored this character type, looking into what happens when their nature results in serious consequences. Thor is an example of this kind of hero, as is Korra from the Legend of Korra.

What is the worst thing you can do to a character to relies on their strength? Put them in a position where their strength is not enough. These characters are often used to being in control, masters of their physical being. So taking away their strength, or putting them a place where their strength is useless, is their greatest test. This is one of the reasons that physical heroes are pitted against more intellectual villains because they are opposites, and brains can often trump pure strength. More well-rounded heroes ultimately triumph in the end.

And that is of course the point of placing these heroes in difficult positions where their strength is not sufficient. Because they must then learn to overcome, therefore becoming stronger in the process.
Thor finds himself in this position when he is thrown to Earth and can no longer heft his hammer. Superman might be crippled by kryptonite.

Korra is put through this test over and over again, though most noticeably when she faces Amon, a villain with the ability to take away her bending.

However, the real strength of these characters is revealed when they overcome. This often comes from  a since of inner strength and self-discovery. Thor finds himself worthy of his hammer again and Korra, who has struggled to find the inner peace required by air bending, is able to air bend in the end to save those she loves.

The importance of this kind of hero is that it shows that no matter how strong you think you are, you can always get better and improve yourself in other ways. Seeing characters such as these discovering this is inspiring in a novel, as it gives the characters much needed depth.

Join me tomorrow for our character spotlight. Happy writing!

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