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Author Topic: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins  (Read 1768 times)

Gariath

6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« on: December 14, 2012, 07:05:52 PM »
A second interesting article from Tor (just proving that provided it wasn't written by Leigh Butler, this website is packed full of great articles.)

6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
Ryan Britt   


Sure, we like “chosen one” heroes like Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Rand al’Thor, and Superman, but it’s no big plot twist when they end up doing great things. Sometimes the best adventurers are ones without a chosen destiny, like Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit who just wanted to be left in peace, and who are these people in his house anyway?

So in Bilbo’s honor, here are six other heroes who stumbled (haltingly, but bravely) into greatness.

 

Alex Rogan (The Last Starfighter)

As I’ve said before, the premise of The Last Starfighter is wildly original. I’m not talking about themes, or the plot, but instead, the basic conceit. Having an arcade game actually be a recruitment device for a doomed space fleet = awesome. Alex himself is a great example of an accidental hero. To the viewer, he’s a underachieving person who is likely going to end up stuck unhappily in his trailer park forever, and thus is not the ideal candidate for a future space fighter pilot. But then his one area of expertise comes in handy, and it’s all thanks to playing video games a lot! What a nice thought. (It’s also cool that Maggie goes with him at the end. What’s she going to do in the space world? Maybe she’s randomly really good at arcade games too, but secretly. Like, the sequel could have been The Last Starfighter Ringer.)

 

Winston Zeddemore (Ghostbusters)

Winston is the quintessential everyman among the Ghostbusters, and if you need proof of that fact, then look no further than his response to Janine’s interview question, in which she asks him if he believes in a long list of paranormal phenomena.

Winston’s response? “If there’s a steady paycheck in it, I’ll believe anything you say.” Winston may not have had a doctorate, or a destiny, but he was dedicated to the job and marched side by side with Ray, Egon, and Venkman through the doorway to Gozer’s dimension. The Ghostbusters were not complete until this guy answered that Help Wanted ad in the paper.

 

Gwen Cooper (Torchwood)

One of the best parts of Torchwood was always Gwen Cooper. (She even made us happy when death returned to Earth in Miracle Day.) Initially, Gwen’s just an ordinary Welsh police officer who accidentally finds herself recruited into a secret alien-hunting organization. And because she’s the audience surrogate, she brings in more heart and character dimension than the more familiar (at least, to fans of Doctor Who) character, Captain Jack Harkness. Her ongoing struggle to keep her clandestine extraterrestrial outings separate from her personal life creates real strife for the character, and keeps her grounded in a way the other Torchwood characters aren’t.

 

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

I suppose one could make the case that Katniss was “destined” to be a badass competitor in the Hunger Games because of her awesome archery abilities and strong sense of justice, but the way her story unfolds in the novels, it certainly doesn’t feel that way. Sure, Katniss thinks about what goes on outside the confines of her district, but she has a practical obligation to take care of her family, an obligation which unexpectedly forces her out of her district and into a larger political struggle. Prim’s selection for the games at the Reaping is pure random chance, and Katniss steps up in her role as protector, nothing more, at the outset. Nor is Katniss the only one who can bring about real change in Panem; rather, she finds herself strung along as a symbol while others do the real work of fighting for freedom. If that symbol hadn’t been Katniss, it might have been someone else. She just happened to provide the first spark that caused her whole world to catch fire.

 

Dorothy Gale (The Oz series)

It doesn’t get more unexpected than this! Dorothy and Toto are literally swept up by a tornado that also serves as a doorway to a strange and wonderful fairyland. Her sudden arrival in Oz is not one Dorothy wants or plans and yet that journey changes her life and her entire family’s life forever. Dorothy definitely shares certain traits in common with hobbits insofar as she sees the practical, down-to-Earth solution in most situations. In later books in the Oz series, Dorothy is pals with Princess Ozma and manages to get her family relocated to the capital city of Oz, permanently aligning herself with the future of this magical land and its inhabitants.

 

Arthur Dent (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)

It’s no surprise that Peter Jackson chose the excellent Martin Freeman as the younger version of Bilbo Baggins in the new Hobbit films. Freeman’s turn as Arthur Dent (no matter what you think of the movie as a whole) is great! In many ways Arthur Dent is the science fiction version of Bilbo—he just wants to hang out in his house and have his tea. Naturally, everything changes when he learns that not only is his house going to be bulldozed, but the entire Earth is about to be zapped out of existence. Pleasantly, Arthur’s personality as an ordinary guy remains fairly consistent throughout all the Douglas Adams books (barring the part where he learns how to fly.) If you want a hero we can all relate to who survives the entire destruction of the Earth, then it’s a safe bet to put him in a bathrobe.

Who are some of your other favorite unexpected/random/every-person heroes? Chime in below!


The last Rhega.

Jian

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 07:34:20 PM »
A second interesting article from Tor (just proving that provided it wasn't written by Leigh Butler, this website is packed full of great articles.)



I'd have to agree on that note.  :P

I didn't care for some of the choices (Katniss), but the rest seem spot on.
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Charlemagne

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 06:23:00 PM »
Hard to argue with Arthur Dent!
Find me on the web at http://singmuses.wordpress.com

pornokitsch

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 07:28:09 PM »
Brilliant list.

I'm also not sure about Katniss (she rises to heroism pretty rapidly, and she does volunteer, eyes open, knowing what she's in for, etc. etc. etc.).

Dorothy's a great pick - the Wizard is also unexpected, which is pretty awesome.

Elfy

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 11:04:49 PM »
It had elements from The Running Man and Battle Royale and neither of them were evil. Violent, yes, but not evil. On topic, though I thought Cat Velis from The Eight was one of the most unlikely heroes I've ever encountered in a fantasy.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Gariath

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 12:33:24 AM »
in a world very similar to the one we live in, I made a series of posts in this thread.   ;)

And in this world they were moved to another thread entitled the Merits or Lack thereof in The Hunger Games.
The last Rhega.

Jeni

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 12:44:44 AM »
Back to topic - anyone think Thomas Covenant qualifies?

Elfy

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 02:26:33 AM »
While I personally didn't like the character, or the books, I will say that he qualifieds He didn't even believe in the world he was transported to, yet he was hailed as it's saviour, at least in the first series, plus it was highly derivative of LotR, so Covenant is certainly an unlikely and reluctant hero or anti-hero (depending on your point of view), and his name sure wasn't Bilbo Baggins.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

jefGoelz

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 06:28:40 AM »
I would suggest that most coming of age stories would qualify.
so...unexpected heroes are so common, I wonder why we wouldn't expect them.  ;)

pornokitsch

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 06:43:49 AM »
I agree with Thomas Convenant - unexpected, unlikely and unlikable. And reluctant and doubting and... etc. etc.

Jaedia

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2012, 02:35:54 PM »
How about Sam and Dean in Supernatural? Regular people thrust into the world of the Supernatural. Maybe, maybe not.

And any of Pratchett's Discworld characters. Take your pick!
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Elfy

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2012, 10:01:43 PM »
How about Sam and Dean in Supernatural? Regular people thrust into the world of the Supernatural. Maybe, maybe not.

And any of Pratchett's Discworld characters. Take your pick!
Sam and Dean fit, well Sam more than Dean, because he really doesn't want to be there about 90% of the time. Pretty much anyone who appears in an A. Lee Martinez book.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Jaedia

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2012, 01:03:57 AM »
Oh and how could we forget all of those farmboys with great destinies who went before! ;)
New![b/] Group book blog: Tea in the Treetops.
Book Blog: Once Upon A Time.
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/jaedia
Book blog twitter: @jaediasrantpage

Nyki Blatchley

Re: 6 Unexpected Heroes Not Named Bilbo Baggins
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2012, 04:48:46 PM »
There's Alveric in Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter.  OK, he was a prince, but he only went off to have adventures because his father's subjects insisted.

Or Simon Tregarth in Norton's Witch World series, who went to the Witch World purely as a means of escaping from a hit-man.

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