One of the most common tropes in fiction is the ‘Chosen One’.
This is a character who is destined to go on the adventure and, many times, win. This trope traditionally removes all tension once it’s revealed. It’s only in the last decade or so that authors began having it that they lose to trick everyone. I even stated many times that the champions in Legends of Windemere were destined to reach the final battle in some form, but not necessarily win. This still treats the ‘Chosen One’ in positive terms with very few negatives. So, it isn’t that different.
Now, what if you make it clear that the ‘Chosen One’ isn’t a gift, but a curse?
This isn’t that hard to demonstrate even if the character is unaware of how much of a negative this status is. Look at the following possibilities:
- Being the ‘Chosen One’ means that they have no free will. All of their actions and paths are decided upon. The heroes can try to do something else, but they will always be pushed back on track. Sometimes, this can be a rather violent and brutal shove that destroys things. At that point, they may start questioning their role and wondering if they are being punished.
- Relationships can be difficult because they have this calling. While non-destined heroes are free to establish solid relationships, a ‘Chosen One’ will be aware that doing so puts people in danger. They can become distant or get a sense that they may never truly belong. This can lead to them wanting to get their destiny over with in order to gain a normal life. Recklessness and frustration can grow to make it clear that this isn’t a position anyone wants to be in.
- Plot armor is a constant complaint when it comes to ‘Chosen One’ characters. Being destined to succeed or reach the end, they will never be killed off. If they do then the concept of prophecy is a lie and much of the development is thrown out. This is why many authors steer clear of this trope. Yet, the plot armor can be used as another reason for this character to be seen as cursed. They are surviving incredible odds while their non-destined friends are dying. Again, we can see how this can push a Chosen One into emotional distance and possibly even try to go it alone.
- A positive part of being the ‘Chosen One’ is that they will become famous if their adventure goes on long enough. Definitely nothing to be upset about. That is unless the author is a jerk. Being praised and doted on can make the character become pampered and spoiled. Their personality may change into one that isn’t very appealing, which can cost them in some fashion. This becomes a ‘pride before the fall’ even if the hero isn’t able to fall entirely. They can lose everything due to their newfound ego and then be left wondering what they have to fight for.
There are plenty of other ways to show how the ‘Chosen One’ is cursed. It all depends on the world, author, and type of destiny. Think about how even characters who can’t be physically harmed can still be hurt emotionally and mentally. The burden of having so much on your shoulders and not being able to hand it off can grind nearly every hero into the dirt if written correctly. This is internal damage over time, which won’t be unnoticed until it’s a really big issue. Also, this types of blows are harder to shrug off because potions and spells aren’t really able to repair that damage without psychic manipulation. All because a character was unlucky enough to be born a ‘Chosen One’.