Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Epic Heroes

Don't ask me why I tried to explain North Korea to my five-year-old. It's tempting to joke that North Korea's foreign policy might be easier for a five-year-old to understand than for an adult, but Gareth was as baffled as the rest of us. My explanation boiled down to approximately this:

North Korea has a Mean King who wants to build the Biggest Bomb in the World. Nobody has completely stopped him yet because he has a lot of Follower Meanies--people who might have led perfectly nice lives, except that they're being led by a Leader Meanie. Meanwhile, the people of North Korea don't have enough to eat because it costs a lot of money to build the Biggest Bomb in the World, and the people of South Korea have to worry about whether the Follower Meanies are going to try to make them serve the Mean King.

Gareth's solution is that he will wait until the Follower Meanies are asleep, sneak into North Korea, and defeat the Mean King, after which everyone will be so grateful to him for bringing lots of rice that they'll reward him by teaching him to do real magic. It's a good thing we live on the far side of an ocean from North Korea, because Gareth's ready to pack his messenger bag and set out on foot. He feels sorry for the people of North Korea, and besides, he wants that magic spell power.

Probably the mothers of most the great epic fantasy heroes wished their sons would stay safely home.

This week's Black Gate blog post talks about revealing heroic characters through their relationships with other characters. In the epic of Gareth's life as a sword-slinging sorcerer with a neverending messenger bag of rice, his dialogue with me reveals his obstinate determination to defeat bad guys. I kept trying to say things like, "The Mean King locks up anybody who tries to come from outside and help the people in his country," and Gareth only got more and more determined to put an end to the Meaniocracy.
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