unlikely hero

All posts tagged unlikely hero

The Unlikely Hero Trope

Published December 12, 2013 by A. Featherquill

Last December 1, I posted an article about Neville Longbottom’s heroism. As stated in that post, the theme of the month is becoming an unlikely hero. We still haven’t reached the third week, but I would like to post early, because I’ll be busy in the following weeks due to various Christmas activities.

While looking for examples around the web, I realized that there are many types of unlikely hero. Thus, instead of just writing about one great example, I will list down seven popular types based on my web search and give an example for each.

1. From weakling to badass:

This type is probably the most popular. Even Neville can fall under this category. Besides this awkward-boy-turned-basilisk-slayer, another good example is… Captain America.

I got this idea from mashable’s article “What Books Would ‘Harry Potter’ Characters Read“. While there are many other fantasy literatures and comic book superheroes following this pattern, I chose Captain America because sometimes nothing beats the classic.

Frail and sickly Steven Rogers volunteers in the army but was initially rejected. By some luck or twist of fate, Rogers is picked to be the recipient of the super-soldier serum. The once weak boy transforms into a superhero but retains his good heart and honorable character.

2. Too extraordinarily ordinary to become a hero (but think again!)

The best example for this category is definitely… Bilbo Baggins. Small in size, enjoys the comfort and security of his home, respectable, conventional, simple, very ordinary. Bilbo does not have any special ability like The X-men or The Avengers. He does not have the magical powers of a wizard. He doesn’t have the training of a warrior or the power of a king. If there is anything noticeable about Bilbo before his unexpected journey, it is probably his ordinariness.

But, as Gandalf says, there’s more to this hobbit than meets the eye. This hobbit helps the dwarves in their journey to the Lonely Mountain. Some of you may have followed his adventures in Tolkien’s book, but I invite you all to see Bilbo’s development into a hero (although not the Superman-type) in the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The movie is now showing in theatres worldwide.

3. The adorable animal savior:

I will pick an example from real life for this category. You have probably heard of stories where the dog swims its master back to saftey and other similar events. But have you heard of the hero-dog Kabang?

One day, two girls were crossing the street. They did not notice that a motorcycle was approaching. Kabang came to the rescue and knocked the motorcycle over. The two girls were saved. Kabang also lived. However, the dog’s snout was crushed. Eventually, the dog developed infection. The owners of the dog, being of humble origins, could not afford to give their dog a surgery. Fortunately, the news of the dog’s heroism reached able people. With the help of sponsors, Kabang was able to undergo surgery in the US.

For more information about the hero dog, read this wikipedia article which lists down other titles featuring Kabang’s story.

4. The Woman Warrior

Probably, this type is not quite surprising now as many woman characters take the role of heroes in literature, film, and many other genres. We now have Katniss Everdeen who challenged a tyrannic system, Merida of Brave, Tauriel of The Hobbit’s film franchise, Hermione of Harry Potter, etc. Still, I want to celebrate the power of women by including in this post a case which features women’s greatness.

There was an age when seeing a woman warrior is not only surprising but also forbidden. Take the case of Mulan. What she did was against the norm. Yet she ended up saving not just her father but the whole empire.

My first encounter with Mulan’s story is through Disney’s cartoon movie. It touched my heart to hear the emperor say in the end:

I’ve heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father’s armor, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonored the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, and… you have saved us all.

Later on, I learned that there is a non-animated Chinese movie about Mulan. If animated cartoons is not your thing, you can give this version a try.

5. The kid who beats them all:

It’s Christmas time so a Christmas-related example seems fitting: Kevin McCallister of the Home Alone movie series.

I have watched the first three installments of this Christmas movie a couple of times, but they never fail to entertain and make me laugh. My favorite is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and this installment is probably the most suitable example for this unlikely hero category.

Kevin repeats the feat of beating bandits Harry and Marv but this time not just for himself but mainly for the sake of a Christmas toy store whose proceeds will go to a children’s hospital.

6. The Accidental Hero:

The third week post is meant to feature things outside the Harry Potter world. Forgive me, however, because I couldn’t resist posting this small accidental “heroism” of Ron Weasley. I was reminded of this scene after seeing it in Everything Harry Potter tumblr blog:

Ron Weasley: I’m rubbish. I’m lousy. I can’t play to save my life. What was I thinking?
Harry Potter: Get a grip. Look at that save you made with your foot the other day, even Fred and George said it was brilliant –
Ron Weasley: That was an accident. I didn’t mean to do it – I slipped off my broom when none of you were looking and I was trying to get back on and I kicked the Quaffle by accident.
Harry Potter: Well, a few more accidents like that and the game’s in the bag, isn’t it?

Really, the accidental hero deserves a place in this list because of this type’s unassuming brilliance.

7. The Villian turned Hero:

The villian is probably the least likely candidate to be hero simply because the villian is supposed to cause the problems. Nevertheless, some villians have successfully managed to transform into heroes. A good example is Megamind. My friend River Taylor’s post last month about Megamind inspired the example for this category.

While Megamind is a super-villian, at some point, he saves the city from the bad schemes of his newly made superhero Hal/Tighten. I think this character combines categories 1, 5 and 6 and thus makes for a good last entry. He is weak when compared to his nemesis Metro Man and so always loses. Then, this villian suddenly wins and becomes a hero because the situation calls for it. The heroism was somehow accidental.

This incident, however, proves that even villians can turn into heroes!


Stay Magical,
A. Featherquill


P.S. This article will probably be my last post for the year so I would like to take this chance to thank each and every reader, follower and visitor of my blog. Merry Christmas to all of you! Enjoy the holiday season!





The Other Boy Who Lived

Published December 1, 2013 by A. Featherquill

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies …”

Quoted above is the prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney about the boy who is destined to defeat Voldemort. Two boys fill the requirements – Neville Longbottom and Harry Potter. However, the prophecy has pertained to Harry ever since the Dark Lord, believing that it was the Potters’ son who is destined to defeat him, tried to kill Harry. In doing so, Voldemort ironically made the prophecy come true.

Thus, Harry Potter has become the chosen one, the hero, the savior of the wizarding world. Likewise, being unchosen, Neville ceased to be an option and grew up as an ordinary boy.

Neville started out as awkward, careless, prone to accident, and forgetful. Also, he performed poorly in most of his classes except Herbology. He was often bullied but he could not defend himself. Seeing him in his first few days at Hogwarts, one would wonder how this boy ended up in Gryffindor. One would think that Voldemort was right in picking Harry instead of Neville.

Nevertheless, Neville learned to stand up against evil and became one of the bravest in his batch, re-organizing the Dumbledore’s Army. He would often defy the Death Eaters in order to give others hope even though it meant he would get beaten. Most of all, when everyone thought Harry was dead, he was the one who boldly told the Dark Lord that the fight was not yet over for them. With or without the savior, the battle must go on. It does not mean that, when the destined hero is dead, they all must kowtow to the Dark Lord. In the absence of the chosen one, Neville took the responsbility to continue the battle against evil.

He may have been just an ordinary boy, not chosen by Voldemort as his equal, but he still became a source of hope during a time when everyone thought the supposed hero was dead.

Neville’s evolution in the series can also be a source of inspiration for all of us. His feats show that everyone can be a hero. It doesn’t matter if we have a painful past. It doesn’t matter if we are not famous, smart or wealthy. One does not have to be a protege of someone great. One does not need to have a title. One does not have to wait to be chosen. Instead, it is our choice that matters.

We may be ordinary. Others may not believe in us. But we can still choose to move, to change, to fight for a greater cause, to send out love to others, to be a source of hope and inspiration. We just need to believe in ourselves.

Let me end with a quote from The Order of the Phoenix movie that shows Neville beginning to embrace who he is, an exchange with Harry which I believe was significant in Neville’s development.

Neville Longbottom: Fourteen years ago, a Death Eater named Bellatrix Lestrange used the Cruciatus Curse on my parents. She tortured them for information, but they never gave in. I’m quite proud to be their son. But I’m not sure I’m ready for everyone to know just yet.
Harry Potter: We’re going to make them proud, Neville. That’s a promise.

Indeed, he did!

Stay Magical,
A. Featherquill

Have you guessed the theme of the month? It is being an unlikely hero. Please wait for the best-of-the-web post (if you don’t know what this type of post is, read this) coming in the third week of December.
%d bloggers like this: