Who is the hero of your favorite story?
Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series? John McClain from Die Hard? Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty?
*Just for this blog post, I’m only mentioning heroes, even though everything I will say pertains to heroines, too!
Here’s my definition of a hero:
A hero is someone who is willing to give up the most precious thing in his or her life for the good of someone else.
Let’s look at the heroic examples I listed above –
1. Gilbert Blythe: We all love Gilbert, don’t we? He’s the perfect match for Anne, even when they were youngsters in school. But what makes him a hero? When his father died and he was orphaned, Gilbert was willing to make the sacrifices he needed to in order to continue his schooling to become a doctor – to help others live rather than die the way his father had.
2. John McClain: What makes John McClain a hero is not his ability to walk across broken glass barefoot (I hate that scene!) but that he is willing to sacrifice his own safety (and potentially his life) to pursue the bad guy to the end for the sake of his wife and the other hostages in the Nakatomi Tower, and in the process restore his marriage.
3. Prince Philip from Sleeping Beauty (the Disney version): Okay, Philip has the advantage of living in a fairy tale and so he has no flaws. But he did risk life and limb to fight Evil (in the form of Maleficent, Disney's greatest villain) in order to save Aurora and restore the kingdom to life.
My favorite fictional story is The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the hero is Samwise Gamgee.
I can hear you now: “Sam? I thought the hero was Aragorn, or Frodo!”
Nope. Sam. Bear with me while I make my case.
Sam is the character that the story revolves around. He’s an unwilling participant in the vast story-world of Middle-Earth that is in danger of being consumed by evil. Frodo, Aragorn, Gandalf, Elrond, and all the other characters have their parts to play, and all are heroic. All make sacrifices for the good of others. All are willing to give up what is most precious to them for the greater good.
But Sam – the gardener from the Shire – gives up the most precious things of all:
His home – leaving the Shire when he hadn’t traveled more than a dozen miles from his house in his lifetime.
His family – leaving his elderly father behind, as well as Rosie Cotton.
His goals – in the Shire he was a gardener and friend of Frodo. All he wanted was a home, children to raise, and a bit of garden to raise his vegetables. When he set off on the quest, he didn’t have any other goal than to help Frodo take the Ring as far as he needed to take it.
And when it came to the most daring sacrifice of all - - -
Sam was the only ring-bearer who gave up the ring without reservation.
Without Sam, Frodo wouldn’t have been able to finish the journey to Mount Doom.
Without Sam, Frodo wouldn’t have had the strength to walk to the precipice of the fire.
Without Sam, the quest would never have been accomplished.
Without Sam, the story would never have come to its necessary conclusion of restoration.
All would have been lost.
Samwise Gamgee is definitely my favorite hero in literature. I even named my border collie puppy after him, even though at eight months old, he's more of a Tigger than a Samwise!
We’ve discussed some fictional heroes, but are there any real-life heroes?
Of course. We see them every day.
I hope some of the people closest to you fit in that category - my favorite real-life hero has always been my dear husband.
And, of course, the epitome of the hero is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true example for all other heroes to follow. Think of his life and sacrifice for us!
How does this relate to our writing?
Every story has a hero. If you’re wondering who it is in your book, look for the pivotal character (in a romance, there is both a hero and a heroine.)
As you develop your hero character, identifying his flaws, his strengths, and his motivations, add one more thing: make him willing to sacrifice what is most precious to him for the good of others.
In the comments, tell us about your hero. What will he or she sacrifice for someone else?
One commenter will be in the drawing for a copy of my October 20 release, "Softly Blows the Bugle."
What is the book about?
When Elizabeth Kaufman received the news of her husband's death at the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, she felt only relief. She determined that she would never be at the mercy of any man again, even if it meant she would never have a family of her own. Then Aaron Zook comes home with her brother when the war ends two years later.Available for pre-order! Links are on my website: www.JanDrexler.com
Despite the severity of his injuries, Aaron resolves to move West and leave the pain of the past behind him. He never imagined that the Amish way of life his grandfather had rejected long ago would be so enticing. That, and a certain widow he can't get out of his mind.
Yet, even in a simple community, life has a way of getting complicated. Aaron soon finds that while he may have left the battlefield behind, there is another fight he must win--the one for the heart of the woman he loves.
Welcome back to the Amish community at Weaver's Creek, where the bonds of family and faith bind up the brokenhearted.