Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Heroes and Heroism: The Leader vs. Their People

Haha, well I've been gone awhile. Insert various life is busy excuses here. I just got back from New York term, however, so I have a long summer ahead of me to continue updating. So, without further ado, shall we jump right back into the heroes series?

Today we look at one of the most common heroic types, especially in fantasy or dystopian novels. The Leader. Honestly, every book has a character who acts as a leader, whether it’s of a sports team or a nation. Leaders step up, take charge and work to lead their people to victory.

And that really forms the crux of the leader’s dilemma. Their people. At all turns, the leader must live up to the expectations of their most loyal supporters and defy the doubts of dissenters. In many ways, they are expected to be perfect.

Trouble is they never are.

All leaders have doubts about whether or not they can live up to the tremendous pressure. Sometimes they are placed in positions where they must make tough moral calls for the good of their people. Sometimes they are wrong and hundreds of lives are lost. Whatever choice they make, its big, which means the fallout is also huge.

Leaders also have to put on a mask of sorts in front of their followers. Take Kelsier from Mistborn (fangirlish scream). He’s a complex hero with lots of baggage but he wears a face of utter confidence even in the face of impossible odds. It makes his crew feel more confident. But, as they discover, there will always be something Kelsier doesn’t tell them.

In a lot of ways, leaders are in the easiest position to become villains if they don’t watch their actions. Ruling is complicated, and if they don’t watch their step, they’ll end up on the wrong side of the history book.

The most heroic leaders, however, pull through. That’s what separates them from their more villainous counterparts. They have stronger moral instincts and act more selflessly in order to make things best for their people. They don’t grapple for power but treat it with respect. It’s another ‘with great power comes great responsibility dilemma’.

A good, heroic leader inspires you to follow them to victory, no matter the odds. They also know how to make a rousing speech.

Always a plus.

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