Questions 3: A Hero to the Very End

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A fairly big part of Legends of Windemere: Tribe of the Snow Tiger is about being a hero.  You might be wondering why this is special since this comes into play in every book.  It’s different this time.  Several champions, but mostly Timoran, are put in positions where being the good hero will make the situation worse or let someone down.  For example, if Nyx lets certain events unfold then it means she is removed from helping a friend.  This isn’t about doing the right thing and making everything better.  This is about possibly doing something that feels wrong to you and risks something because the ‘right’ way could cause more trouble.  You see why it’s so hard to promote this volume?  That isn’t one of the 3 questions:

  1. Have you ever written a hero or read of one where failing to act ended up being the heroic thing to do?
  2. What do you think of a hero sticking to their honors even if it leads to their destruction?
  3. How do you feel when you read of a hero failing, but you saw a way out that their code prevented them from pursuing?

This probably makes the book seem a little confusing, but I promise it makes sense within the pages.  Read and find out.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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15 Responses to Questions 3: A Hero to the Very End

  1. L. Marie says:

    1. Have you ever written a hero or read of one where failing to act ended up being the heroic thing to do?
    I’m still thinking about this. I can’t think offhand of a situation I read. But when I consider the issue, I can’t help thinking about a situation which would cause problems in a disputed area. Let’s say two countries are at odds over an area in the middle. (Like the neutral zone in Star Trek.) If one country sent a hero to rescue someone in that zone, that might cause a war between the two nations, which would involve countless casualties. So maybe the heroic thing would be to not act in that situation.

    2. What do you think of a hero sticking to their honors even if it leads to their destruction?
    Do you mean a hero who sticks to his or her beliefs, even if it he or she is put to death? That seems heroic to me. I think of people who refuse to renounce their faith, even if the result is facing an execution.

    3. How do you feel when you read of a hero failing, but you saw a way out that their code prevented them from pursuing?
    Well, that’s what makes a compelling story. 🙂 I’m thinking of Captain America: Civil War now.

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    • 1. I think I’ve heard of stories like that, but I can’t be sure. Kind of like a group of spies and one gets caught, so they have to leave him behind.

      2. That was it. I’ve noticed that many people will look at a hero who holds to their code even in the face of death with disdain. Maybe we don’t put much on honor these days.

      3. Still haven’t seen it, but the whole plot seems to involve inflexible codes of conduct.

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        Sadly, I agree: honor doesn’t seem as valued (except in the movies I’ve seen from China and Japan). I hope you’ll get a chance to see Captain America. It addresses some really hard issues–like what you’re discussing here.

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      • It isn’t a time issue. I’m simply not rushing and waiting for it on DVD. Talking to a friend, I guessed most of the twists and it really doesn’t look that interesting to me. Hate to say it, but it looks like a regular mid-Phase Marvel movie.

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  2. These are tough, and I think L. Marie’s answers are better than mine. 1.) I learned a lesson about passive main characters. My hero needs to act. If the course was to do nothing, I would have to go out of my way to show that as being a hard decision too. 2.) All the politicians who worked to keep us out of WWII did not go down in history. I think this goes to the idea that not every character is worthy of a story. This kind of thing can happen to show character development i.e. the mistake, but at some point I want them active. 3.) There have been some good stories that go this direction. L. Marie covered religion, but there are also things like trial by combat that might fit the bill.

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    • 1. Good point. I think passivity can work for a bit, but too long and you lose people’s interest. Even a jolt of action could help before going back to passivity. Keep thinking of a resistant hero on this one.

      2. I actually didn’t even know about that, which proves the point.

      3. Good old trial by combat. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kristen Lamb had a great post some months back about bad plot threads that were too passive. These involve protecting, hiding, and avoiding. Can Craig hide in his basement long enough for the zombie hoard to pass him by? It won’t carry a novel. I can hide for a bit, but I should be plotting and scheming at the same time, before emerging with my flame throwing bagpipes.

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      • It’s interesting that those three are on the list. From my experience, those are the most common real world situations. As much as we’d like to believe people leap into action when faced with a problem, most really do settle for the least ‘active’ way out of things.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 100% agree. We are trained in school to hide under the desk. In one generation they were nuclear drills, now shooter drills. Simply walking away in one piece doesn’t make a great story though. We find more mileage in the military guys who went down fighting in a terrorist air abduction.

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      • My wife recently went through the shooter drills since she’s working at a school. Seems to make a little more sense than the nuclear ones. The thing is many of us probably imagine we’d be the ‘action’ person in such a situation. Don’t think many humans acknowledge they would be scared in something like that until they’re in it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s true too.

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  3. Bookwraiths says:

    1) Have you ever written a hero or read of one where failing to act ended up being the heroic thing to do?
    Not many of these out there, but I do recall Thomas Covenant doing something similar to this, which ultimately caused the villains demise. That conclusion was well written however and never felt passive in any way.

    2) What do you think of a hero sticking to their honors even if it leads to their destruction?

    In the right story it comes across as noble and heroic, but the honor thing is so hard to nail down today. What “cause” is worth dying for? Religion, country, something else? Everything is so gray today, stories where the noble hero is fighting for a “cause worth dying for” just come across as fairly naive to me.

    3) How do you feel when you read of a hero failing, but you saw a way out that their code prevented them from pursuing?

    I feel torn. It certainly inspires me (if I agree with their “cause”), but it also makes me feel that frustrated that they didn’t find another way out of the situation. Guess, all those years of reading about Batman, Spiderman, and other superheroes always finding a way out ruined my expectations.

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    • 1. Interesting. So it could be possible that inactivity isn’t always passive. At least not entirely. Kind of like a powerful opponent letting a weaker one constantly attack until tired. It’s passive, but effective.

      2. That is a problem, especially with fantasy. Those worlds are different from our own and the populace are not nearly as jaded as we are in terms of honor and loyalty. Is it possible that our reality makes it difficult to connect to such a world where such things would make sense without being naive?

      3. I keep thinking about how Spider-Man technically killed Gwen Stacy with the sudden stop. It is a tough call though. If one is able to cast aside their belief system (not talking religion here) then they can get through anything. Yet, it also means they’re a hero that doesn’t stand for anything and has every reason to take the darker answers like killing enemies.

      You did mention a ’cause’ a lot, which I was thinking of as something different than an honor code. Causes tend to be grander things than the individual while a code of honor is more personalized. Still, it is difficult for us to connect with anything that goes against our own codes and causes. Makes writing fiction a lot more of a challenge, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. To answer this, I’d first ask for a definition of “hero.” In most fantasy novels, we see heroism most clearly as deeds of arms. However, you are mentioning codes of honor. I would suggest that heroism can also be any act of sacrifice.

    –A person (often a princess) is given in marriage to a stranger. Is that person heroic?
    –A cleric’s spell brings a person back from the brink of death and the cleric refuses any payment. Is the cleric heroic?
    –A person runs into a burning building to rescue a stranger. Is that person heroic?
    –A thief makes off with a priceless artifact. Doesn’t sound too heroic. What if the thief returns the artifact to its rightful owner/culture/etc. Is that thief now heroic?
    –A person takes in orphans to raise as their own. Is that person heroic?
    –Mercenary fighters save a city, in return for generous payment. Are the fighters heroic?

    Any group of people reading over this list is likely to come up with all sorts of answers, so I guess this brings me back to my gut reaction, which is: “define heroic.”

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