Humanity’s Strongest Soldier

Not that I have seen Attack on Titan. I tried, and got kind of bored halfway through the beginning. Also, mystification averted my interest to another question. The same mystification that forced me to stop watching House. Asking why and coming up with real world logic that prevents the drama killed that show for me. I should not know more about legal or medical matters than people who write about them.

But I digress (as usual). What I’m on about today is to do with fictional heroes who are under the age of twenty, often under the age of seventeen. Some are nine. In particular, the Chosen. The characters who are not content to lead their stories, but who were created by people who think that for this character to be the lead, they have to have MASSIVE justification.

That justification shouldn’t be necessary. If you want to write about a group of people who save the whole world from an alien force, you get the Avengers. You don’t get the Junior Defenders. …and nobody got that reference, so just… trailer. It’s not an age thing, just have a reason. Why is a fifteen-year-old more effective than a regiment of men and women?

This stuff is particularly prevalent in anime. In that case, it’s probably that although a significant portion of the relevant consumers are over twenty, the majority of anime is aimed at kids and teens. There and elsewhere, people continue to think that kids and teens will not accept protagonists not of or near their age, never mind that adults do. (coughcoughHarryPottercoughcough)

Why do people think this? When I was a kid, I hated books about children. TV too, though probably to a lesser extent. Justin happened after I grew out of Power Rangers, but he was infamous. I started reading YA at seven or eight, adult fiction at twelve (if not before). It is only now, when I am in the adult fiction category that I read a lot of middle grade fiction. There has to be something in that.

That was a little off the point, but then, I don’t really write my blog to make points. It is a place to talk without being interrupted or challenged by people who haven’t listened enough to form an intelligible argument.

Shouldn’t a writer always consider the why? Take a bloody oath to first, serve the story. Your story is that a chosen person will come from the garbage planet, ascend to the sparkling silver city, and save its people from slavery so that the other garbage people can ascend and everyone can live HEA together. That’s a fun story. I’d read it. Let’s say you’ve decided the chosen is a child… twelve, maybe.

Now tell me why. Is it because minors are the only ones who have enough free time to explore, or that there are robot guards who ignore children? His father knows the way to the ascension station, but only the kid can fit in the tiny pod, designed for the very small citizens of the silver city? Give. Me. A. Reason.

Too many kids in fiction are the strongest, the chosen, the best at archery. Not just the best, but better than adults, including adults who have done the same things for much longer. I know it’s escapist fantasy. It doesn’t signify. Accomplishment has no value when there is no context. No one is impressive as the best with no realistic comparison.

Someone I knew once wanted to give a character the ability to imagine a picture and draw it exactly as she imagined it. This isn’t a great artist. It’s a wireless printer. And it would piss off anyone who actually puts freakin’ effort into their art.

On that note, I am going to click ‘Publish’ and have a cup of tea.


One thought on “Humanity’s Strongest Soldier

  1. I think one of the reasons why I really liked Taran as a protagonist was that he kind of sucked at everything he did until he actually spend a good deal of time honing his skill at something. A big part of his character arc growth was learning to accept that there will be people out there who are better than you, and you can either whine about it or you can learn from them and try to better yourself. In book one, the magic sword rejects him because he’s not the chosen one, he’s just a kid who thinks that fighting will make him a hero. In book five, the magic sword accepts him because he’s become the person he needs to be, not ‘chosen’ but a hero of agency who worked hard to become the hero the land needed.

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