About a week ago, my sister brother and I were watching The Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers, and after Mary talked about how she hates Gollum because he creeps her out, we got to talk about how Frodo kind of sucks. He’s whiny and self indulgent and consistently mean to Sam.
“But the hero always sucks,” I said, “I mean, Frodo sucks, Harry Potter is the same way, so is Luke (meaning Skywalker).”
Later, Emma from Once Upon a Time, Buffy and Katniss entered in to the conversation as well.
I don’t quite know what it is about fantasy that does it, but a lot of the time it’s true, the heroes are kind of insufferable. Why is that?
The only real explanation I can come up with is that they often carry the world on their shoulders in a big way that those around them don’t. So those around them are able to remain both awesome and human. This is why, while Luke Skywalker is an annoying, whiny, self righteous boring hero, Han Solo gets to be, well, Han Solo.
There are of course, several exceptions to this rule. Clearly, Harrison Ford is immune to this because Indiana Jones never falls victim to this. He just runs around being the best and destroying Nazis and evil child stealing cults and aliens that one time and fathering Shia LaBeouf and everything is badass.
Also, in eight books, Percy Jackson has yet to fall to this serious sucking. I’m just saying. There have been broody stupid moments, sure, but I’ve never slogged through an entire Percy Jackson book thinking, “oh shut up dude! No one cares.” This is what I felt while I read Harry Potter And The Order of The Phoenix, and Catching Fire and the second half of The Two Towers.
This is also how I feel during the “training” scenes in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke throws all those tantrums and Yoda rolls his eyes at him, and Obi-Wan is all “he is our last hope, so we have to put up with his crap.”
Meanwhile, Han is off at Cloud City being fantastic and badass, Aragorn is leading the riders of Rohan to victory, Hermione is organizing the DA, Peeta is plotting with Haymitch to keep Katniss alive and Willow is because a bad ass Wicca.