Here are the top ten greatest heroes (in my opinion) of literature and film.
|Okay, so NBC's got me thinking: who are my favorite heroes? So, I compiled my ten favorite. Not real-life heroes, you understand. Just fictionarl ones from literature, tv, PC games, and film. Read them through, then let me know what you think!
10. Prince Alexander--King's Quest III, VI, and IX--Computer Game (Sierra): Okay, I know what you're thinking: you have a hero on a computer game? But yes! Alexander is awesome, and I can't tell you how many times I've played KQ VI just to watch him save the princess over and over (and over) again! At times he's a little sappy, but for the most part, he's the right amount of sensitive, with a heart to save anyone who's in trouble, regardless of personal danger. Plus, he's smart. How many other teenage boys do you know can cast spells, navigate a ship, turn their evil master into a cat and outsmart bandits? Yeah, that's what I thought.
9. Damson Rhee--Shannara Series by Terry Brooks--book: In general, I'm not a fan of female "heroes." Not that I don't like women (considering I am one, that would be odd), but because of the way they're written. The author either overcompensates for her womanhood by making her too feisty and crusader-ish (I am woman, hear me roar and beat the bad guys and save a hundred innocent peasants all by myself), or makes her too girly. Damson is neither. She's the perfect blend of woman/hero, in that she's feminine, and doesn't try to stupidly run in and be the hero herself. If she needs help, she asks for it. She thinks every plan through before putting it into place. She has emotions, and they positively affect her decisions, such as when her father is captured by the government. She's intelligent, feminine, and strong without being in-your-face. She pretty much rocks.
8. Prince Tirian--The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis--book: Well, if I had to pick only one awesome person from The Chronicles of Narnia, it would have to be Tirian. Sure, I'm a HUGE fan of Peter Pevensie, but I'm really partial to Tirian, as well. For those not familiar with the series, he's the last king of Narnia, and he is the one to lead the last battle against the Calormenes. I'm a total sucker for the chivalrous type, and Tirian definitely fits this bill. He knows he and his troops don't have a prayer to win, but he turns around and basically tells them they don't have to fight, but he will. He'll go in and fight them alone until they kill him if he has to, because he would rather die fighting for a free Narnia, than live in an enslaved one. Wow. That's courage.
7. Peter Parker--Spiderman I and II--film: I know, I know, Spiderman was a comic first, but I never cared for Spiderman the comic. Loved the movie, though, and the portrayal of Peter Parker was amazing. Dorky, smart, geeky guy gets super powers. Always a cool plot. I'm not counting Spiderman III here, because, well, let's face it, he just wasn't that awesome in that one.
6. Peter Pevensie--The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis--book (and film): Yes, this is the second of three Peters on my list. I love "big brothers" in almost any story (I always wished I had one), but Peter Pevensie is one of my favorites. Sure, he has his faults, but his leadership qualities are undeniable. He's not just the High King because he's the oldest, but also because he's the most qualified to lead. Susan's too mousy, Edmund had that whole traitor thing, and Lucy's too flighty. Sure, Peter has a few power trips and he stumbles along the way, but ultimately, his decisions are solid. Of course, Aslan's usually there to help, too.
5. Max Evans--Roswell--TV: Unfortunately, Roswell didn't make it long as a show. I find that somewhat sad, and yet, they screwed it up in the first season, so it really couldn't get far (too much making out, not enough real action). However, by and large, Max Evans (played by Jason Behr), was the best character on this show. He had three awesome points that would endear him to my heart (and this list): 1. He was a king. I like fantasy stories with kings, and I tend to like the kings in the fantasy stories. His leadership skills are amazing. Even before he or anyone else knew he was a king, they all listened to his advice, and deferred to him for decisions. Even if they didn't agree with him, they respected his will. Once they found out he was a king, they got a bit resentful for awhile, but I think when they realized his position didn't define his skills, they leveled off a bit. 2. He's the melancholic, romantic type. And by romantic, I don't mean huggy-kissy (although they wrote a bit of that in there, too). I mean romantic by the medieval/19th century definition. He's dark and brooding and shoulders the world's problems. Not always a good characteristic in the real world, but makes for an awesome character (especially a leader) in a fictional work. I just love this character! He would probably have made it higher than number 5 on my list, if the writer(s) hadn't given him so many make-out scenes with Shiri Appleby's character. And, if he had accepted his destiny and actually gone back to his planet. But that's a whole 'nother rant for a whole 'nother time.
4. Jake Green--Jericho--TV (CBS): He might have made it to my top ten anti-hero lists, except, well, he redeems himself as the show goes on. He's the ultimate prodigal son character: he lost his way, but then "saw the light" and came home. Good thing he did, or he wouldn't have been able to save Jericho. If you've never seen this show, you should. CBS was dumb and cancelled it after two seasons because of "poor ratings," even though they gave it a terrible night and time slot to begin with (opposite American Idol? Helloooo, that's asking for bad ratings!), but you can watch free online. Jake was once the black sheep of the mayor's family, but after many years gone, he returns to ask for the inheritance his grandfather left him, so that he may go off for awhile (the exact reason is hidden), but when his father refuses to give it to him, unless he tells why he wants the money, Jake starts to leave in a huff. But just as he's getting out of town, he notices a mushroom cloud in the distance. Uh oh. Looks like the U.S. has just been hit with a nuclear bomb, and Jericho is one of the last surviving towns. Jake Green, the former anti-small town boy who loved "whiskey and women" a little too much, must now step up and be the leader to an entire town, and possibly the savior of an entire country. It's easy to see why he's on my top ten!
3. Luke Skywalker--Star Wars--film: Well, this one's pretty self-explanatory. Luke just rocks the far-off galaxy. He's the perfect hero, in that he rises from humble beginnings to save, not just a planet, but an entire galaxy. What other hero can make that claim? He finds "the Force" within himself to do things he'd never before imagined, but once he learns them, he accepts his new hero role with surprising ease. It was as if he were meant to be the Good in the battle of Good and Evil. It is his destiny, and he accepts this. In any good hero, it is important that they accept their duties and destiny, regardless of what they themselves want out of life. They realize it is not about them and their wants, but about the needs of an entire nation. As mentioned earlier, Max Evans would be much higher on this list if his writers had acknowledged this fact. Anyhow, Luke Skywalker does aknowledge this, and he does it, with amazing results, and a totally cool ending.
2. Peter Petrelli--Heroes--TV (NBC): I know, I know. How could Peter Petrelli be higher than Luke Skywalker? I don't know; I just love him! Maybe it's because Milo Ventimiglia is just a tiny bit hotter than Mark Hamill. But that's just me. Anyway, here's the third (and final) Peter on my countdown. Peter Petrelli has the best ability on the show: he can absorb other people's powers. All he needs is to come in contact with another person with powers, and he can take them as his own. Oh, don't worry, the other person keeps their powers, too! He just gets them, in addition to the other powers he has. He realizes this when he has prophetic dreams of having powers. Not knowing that his own mother has prophetic dreams (which is how he got that power), he tells his brother, Nathan (who can fly), and discovers he can fly, too! The instant personality "quirk" that is mentioned about Peter is that he is selfless. Many around him see that as a weakness, but when he drops everything to fly to Texas and save a cheerleader's life, it turns out that his selflessness actually saves the world! The cheerleader turns out to be his niece (Nathan's illegitamate child) who can heal herself, no matter what the injury. Peter absorbs this ability, and it is this ability which allows him to face Sylar (the villian--see my top 10 villians list) later on. Peter cares for Claire (the cheerleader), and everyone else he meets in his life; thus, the viewer sees that Peter's selflessness is not his path to weakness, but his path to greatness.
(Although, if you're a Heroes fan, and you saw the episode on October 20th, are you not freaking out right now? I mean, what's Peter going to do without his powers? And has anyone else noticed that the Petrelli family is seriously screwed up? Angela, Nathan, Peter, Claire, Sylar, and Mr. Petrelli--I bet family reunions are awkward.)
1. King Arthur--Le Morte D'Arhthur by Sir Thomas Malory--book: Okay, let's recap: I like heroes who are kings, "romantic," strong, and who are selfless. Hmmm...who else could be my # 1 ? Arthur is all these things, and so much more. Sure, countless movies, tv shows, books, and poems have been dedicated to him, and it may seem a bit cliche, but he is cool. Yes, I know he was a legend before Malory solidified him, but Malory's account of Arhtur is the best I've read/seen so far. He always does what is best for his kingdom, despite his own wishes. And his love for Guenevere is deep; even when he's betrayed by her, he ignores it until he can't. And when he must sentence her to death, he stands by and hopes Lancelot will save her. Even when honor dictates he must fight Lancelot, he hopes he will take Guenevere to safety. It's Gawain who messes everything up. Though I love Gawain dearly (see my top ten anti-heroes), he is the one who is out for revenge, not Arthur. Arthur's decisions are strong, and his leadership qualities undeniable. After all, I'll bet 6 out of the other 9 heroes on this list were created based on Arthur's example. I'll bet 9 out of every 10 heroes ever created were based on Arthur's example. He is Western Civilization's original High Hero. We will be reading of him for years to come.
This concludes my top ten heroes. Do you agree? Disagree? Have comments about certain ones? Want to know more about the tv/movie/book in which they appear? Please let me know! I want to know what you think!