Funny where sparks for ideas come from. The idea to do this post came from a post on heroines by Amy Rose Davis. After leaving my comment about Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley (the heroines I like), I realized those same heroines are similar to the hero I’m creating for my vampire series.
Sarah Connor: When we first meet Sarah in The Terminator, she’s an average gal waiting tables by day and dating at night. To say her world is turned upside down when she learns she’s the mother of the future’s salvation would be an uber understatement. Add to that a killing machine prepared to chase her to the ends of the earth you’ve got the perfect storm to breakdown and give up.
She’s scared out of her mind and initially needs Kyle Reece (Also sent from the future) to protect her. But by the last act of the movie, she’s no longer the average twenty-something. In fact, SHE has to protect Kyle and ultimately defeats the monster. A complete transformation into a hero.
Once we get to the sequel, Sarah’s changed further and become a force as formidable as, if not more than, Kyle. But she’s not indestructible. She’s still got fears and weaknesses to work through. She’s still evolving while never losing the “average gal” part of her. It’s the reason she loves her son and the reason she can make peace with The Terminator. That’s what kept her human to me.
Ellen Ripley: Ellen is a space trucker. Aside from the “space” part, it’s as average and ordinary as it gets. But when an alien gets aboard her ship and is picking off her crew one by one, she’s got two choices: Live or die. And by live I don’t mean looking for a monster showdown. I mean SURVIVE, which in her case, is getting to the escape pod. Unfortunately it becomes clear she has to face the alien. She accepts this and uses her brain, not her strength, to outsmart and defeat the monster.
For the sequel, she has to return to the Alien planet (where humans have started to colonize) and face her greatest fear. Sure, she’s got marines with her, but still. During the movie she meets a little girl nick-named Newt who appears to be the only colonist left alive. She and Newt bond just in time for Newt to be taken captive by the Alien hive. Once again she has two choices: Save Newt or save herself. Maybe this sounds like a no-brainer, but remember, saving Newt involves walking into a nest FILLED with the monsters she fears the most. And Ellen is human. Self-preservation is in our nature and perhaps that thought went through her head. But being the hero she is, she confronts her fear and defeats the monster.
My hero isn’t a hero. He’s an office drone trying to stay far below the radar. He’s average on the verge of boring, but that’s his choice. Inside there’s someone special that’s worth knowing. All he has to do is believe in himself. On top of that he’s got no memories of his past. He reminds me of Harrison Ford in Regarding Henry.
After a near fatal gunshot to the head, Henry is left with no memories and has to relearn how to function in his world. During this process, new aspects (Or maybe aspects that were always there) begin to surface. They shape him into a new Henry. A better Henry.
Right now my hero is Henry, just after the gunshot. A blank slate with a lot of potential and I want each of his adventures to add another piece of what he needs to become the hero he really is.
Now if only I could finish writing the first adventure . . .
In the meantime, what sorts of qualities in heroes do you like?
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