Today I thought I would talk about my favourite heroes in fantasy. Now, hopefully I don’t ramble because there are sooooooo many great heroes out there – they’re kind of integral to the whole fantasy genre really! Heroes give us someone to root for in a story and show us the very best of humanity. Sure, they aren’t always the most realistic characters, most people have a bit of grey to them, but true heroes aren’t very common in a story. They stand out because of their virtue and that is why we love them.
As an aside, I do plan on this being a bit of a series of posts. I’ll be doing my favourite villains and morally grey characters (always the most ‘interesting’ characters!) over the next few weeks.
Anyway, enough me rambling on. Onto the heroes!
Sam is literally the walking embodiment of the selfless companion, and for that reason, he is one of the best heroes going. He would rather put himself through hell than let Frodo suffer and fail. He’s not a great warrior, he is a gardener and a ‘perfectly ordinary’ hobbit, but he always steps up and lets us know that everyone can make a difference and stand up for what is right no matter what.
Ned only gets one book (or show series) but he makes a huge impact on the story. Ned’s morals guide the Starks (as well as Jon and Theon) in their actions throughout the story. He is quite easily the most virtuous character in A Game of Thrones, and while this makes us love him – and people respect him – it is his ultimate downfall. He always does what is right, even if it would cost him his life. Sure, he does lie to cover up Jon’s identity and eventually kneels to Joffrey, but we see him struggle with doing this and he knows he is doing it for the right reasons. He is trying to save Jon and Sansa from Robert’s wrath and Joffrey’s cruelty.
The archetypal wise, white wizard. Forget Dumbledore, this guy was the first and best, IMO. Now, admittedly he has an advantage here. He is, for all intents and purposes, an angel. The gods literally sent him to fight against Sauron and the forces of darkness in Middle Earth, but we can’t help but love him. Especially considering his love of ‘ordinary’ people and things as it is this that keeps him grounded and allows him to resist the insidious influences of Sauron, unlike a certain other white wizard.
Lucy is the youngest of the Pevensie children, but she is, to my mind, the bravest. A young girl who’s father has been sent of to war, her home is being bombed and she is whisked away from her brother to a strange place, and yet she always retains her light and courage. Plus, she always sees the best in people; it would have been easy for her to turn to hatred and anger when she learns the truth about Mr Tumnus, but no. She sees that he is good at heart and leads him back to the light.
Everyone loves Arya, right? She is the plucky tomboy that refuses to bow to socieltal pressure. She doesn’t like dancing and sewing and all the things that highborn girls should like, and she won’t let you tell her that she is wrong. Plus, she champions the common folk. Okay, so she will end up being a little callous and cold by the end, but who wouldn’t in her circumstances? She is as close to a genuine hero as you get in Westeros – Ned Stark/Jon Snow exempt.
The original hobbit hero! Bilbo is, in many ways, a hero for similar reasons to Sam. He isn’t a brave warrior or mighty wizard, but he is brave and loyal to his friends to the end. He uses what he does have – his guile – to save the dwarven king, Thorin, and his companions on multiple occasions from trolls, giant spiders and even a dragon, displaying plenty of courage to go with his cunning. An unusually combination in fantasy; the cunning ones are usually not to be trusted.
Harry maybe the chosen one, and Ron his closest friend, but Hermione is the competent one. Without Hermione, the studious and academically brilliant Gryffindor (she would initially seem to be a Ravenclaw, right?) then Harry would never have survived Hogwarts. And without Harry’s survival, Voldemort would have won. Go Hermione!
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So there you have it, some of my favourite heroes in fantasy. What did you think of my list? Any I have missed out? Let me know in the comments!