Heroes Week Finale – Those Damn Paladins

It only seems appropriate to finish heroes week with one of the greatest paragons of justice and good in all of fiction. In the time it took me to start this post, I also managed to clean my living room, eat some hummus, and pour myself what I feel is a much-deserved glass of scotch (that last bit is somewhat subject to debate, of course). Interest has sufficiently waned.

Right. Paladins.

These sorts of heroes are the polar opposite of the Evil Overlord type of villain. Defining characteristics include an unprecedented need to champion justice and good, a strong moral compass, chivalrous ways, an unwavering loyalty to their cause, country, and king, and so on and so on. Honestly, they’re also the lapdogs of the heroic world, so there’s also that to consider. A fan-favorite, and very polarizing character, who also happens to become a Paladin is Final Fantasy IV’s Cecil. I’m prepared to take some grief on this one, as I know a few people who just really hate how Cecil turned into a Paladin. My opinion? It was all right. Good story arc and everything, but I’m not really a fan of the supreme goody two-shoeing of Paladins. Onward to example-explanation!

Cecil starts off as a captain of the Red Wings, but as a Dark Knight. Some of his abilities exchange HP for greater damage. This is interesting, as he sacrifices of himself to do harm while he is in this state. He is on a mission to reclaim the various crystals from around the world, which he carries out without many questions until a major crisis of conscience and so on and so on. The important part, however, is his switch to a Paladin.

Eventually Cecil faces himself. He must defend against the powerful onslaught from his former Dark Knight self, doing what Paladins do best: defending. Paladin Cecil survives, showing the error of his former ways. The truth of a Paladin is sacrificing for the protection of others and not to further one’s own personal strength, of course, as demonstrated by these two versions of one character. It’s only because of this transformation that Cecil is able to become the hero he needs to be to save the world (and the moon, I guess) from certain destruction at the hands of Golbez (and, you know, not some other dark force because that would totally be spoilers but if there were another final boss it would certainly be a real pain in the ass).

Friday Heroes – The Eternal Optimist

I’m never doing two themed weeks of posting in a row again, as I’m already tired as can be of these damn things. On a more cheerful note, I had a nice, relaxing day off today, which is certainly a good thing.

The Eternal Optimist proved to be a tricky entry, as it’s hard to find a hero who doesn’t falter at least a little in his or her journey. Naturally, I’m allowing for some wiggle-room on this subject so as to not end this post by ripping my hair out.

Whether chosen by destiny, or simply because they’re inherently, overwhelmingly good, these heroes remain positive in even the most grim situations. They’re certain, beyond almost all doubt, that they will find victory in their quest, as they are on the path to defeating evil and doing good. Generic heroing stuff, of course.  Continue reading

Thursday Heroes – Heroes of Destiny

No, I’m not talking about the Guardians people can play as in Destiny, although I suppose they’re kind of applicable in their own way. I’m talking about heroes who, come Hell or high water, will save the day because it was prophesied in some bird droppings on an old sage’s bald head over a century ago, damn it.

These sorts of heroes are, admittedly, a dime a dozen. Their narratives often begin with “In a world” and end with some happily ever after, even if there’s a struggle along the way. The beauty about Heroes of Destiny is that they aren’t always entirely thrilled with said destiny, and so they don’t really plan to go along with it. I’d happily argue, for instance, that Rincewind of the Discworld novels is a Hero of Destiny in his own haphazard, eternally lucky way. If nothing else, he certainly knows how to escape horrible situations with most of his important bits in tact.

Of course, this also covers the heroes of virtually every Final Fantasy game ever created. A great tragedy faces (world), and so the crystals called upon forces of light to save the day. And so on and so on, and many monsters died in the process of creating this adventure.

I’d like to think the comical, resistant heroes of destiny are far more fun, as they show greater conflict with their own nature before inevitably saving the day. Thoughts?

Heroes Week – The Lovable Rogue

I spent a whole lot of time accomplishing nothing today, and it felt surprisingly good. I mean, I [redacted until at least after Easter weekend, which is killing me because I’m so bad at keeping secrets]. That must count for something, right?

Let’s not mince words on this. The Lovable Rogue sort of hero is someone everyone knows is a complete asshole. They’re usually self-serving, narcissistic, power-and-money-hungry jackasses, and sometimes they happen to save the day. Maybe they planned to save the day, or maybe it just worked out as such, but it’s safe to say this sort of hero will most assuredly take credit for their do-gooding either way. This is the kind of hero who could try to build a printing press to counterfeit money, inadvertently uncover some evil plot while out buying parts for the homemade printing press, and then save the day because they found out the evil mastermind wants to make all paper money worthless in their planned Hellscape of a future. Someone better make a comic about that hero I just described, because I really want to read it but also have too many goddamn projects as it is.

These are heroes who blur the line between good and bad, oftentimes skipping rope with said line as it suits their needs.

The Guardians of the Galaxy pretty much exemplify this, and I’m not a particularly huge fan of Deadpool so…Dear god. I think I’ll just go ahead and apologize for the burn-out on tonight’s post, then make up for it tomorrow.

 

Heroes Week – The Last-Minute Martyr

Also known as the post that will undoubtedly involve some spoilers because it’s hard to talk about heroes making the ultimate sacrifice without giving away some major plot points. You’ve all been warned, so there’s that I guess.

It seems oddly appropriate that tonight’s post is about heroes who save the day by dying, as I feel like I’m dying. Related: I’m expanding this to include heroes who made the last-minute saving play knowing they would probably die (even if they didn’t), as that makes life a little easier for me and that’s what these posts are(n’t) all about. From here further, you are risking spoilers of various sorts. You were warned, damn it!

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A Celebration of Characters: Heroes Week

Now that we’ve thoroughly wrecked things with the worst of the worst, I think it only makes sense to put most of the broken bits back together, extinguish some of those fires, and get things back to normal. Naturally, the only reasonable way to go about this is with a week long celebration of types of heroes. To help further balance this out, I will do a week of minor, entirely-forgettable characters, such as the Crucial to the Book, but Left Out of the Movie (a criminally under-represented character if I’ve ever seen one).

…The real crime is that I didn’t think to make that joke closer to April Fool’s Day, now that I think about it. Oh well.

In light of some serious slacking in terms of notebook synopses of the intended posts, here’s what next week will probably look like. Unless, you know, I suddenly change my mind. And then, after all of this, we’ll be back to the regularly-ish scheduled suffering that is the Hundred Days of Blogging 2.0, followed by a now-serious, once-joking month-long hiatus from blogging in favor of novel-writing, possibly going outside, and mostly letting my brain recover.

Sunday (that’s today) – Introduction; a.k.a. the same thing as last week, but replace “villains” with “heroes” and “evil” with “good”

Monday: The Last-Minute Martyr

Tuesday: The Lovable Rogue

Wednesday: Error-of-His/Her-Ways Villain

Thursday: Heroes of Destiny

Friday: The Eternal Optimist

Saturday: Those Damn Paladins

I’ve run out of things to say now, as I’ve been binge-watching CinemaSins’ Everything Wrong With videos this morning instead of being productive. Womp womp.

 

Villain Week Finale – Liches and Other Undead

The struggle of saving Liches and the Undead for the final day was really painful, but worth it in the end. Why? Because there was, believe it or not, an actual order to this week. The posts began with tyrannical, evil leaders, a sub-type of villain characterized by a constant craving for more power, and it ends with Liches and the Undead. Like Old Gods and Invading Species, Liches and Undead don’t necessarily want power. Their motives aren’t always known. More often than not, however, these three types of villains (well, it’s more a guaranteed thing with the Old Gods and the Liches) are all about destruction. Invading Species may show up and eradicate any resistance before continuing with their plans. They may be doing so to pave the path for world domination, or they could be setting up for planetary destruction. The Old Gods could very well have deeper motivations that aren’t always made clear through their actions, but the ultimate goal usually seems destruction and the further-spreading of madness.

Liches, however, and their Undead legions are delightful in that their endgame typically revolves around one guiding principle: the eradication of all life. Unlike Invading Species and Old God counterparts with the same goal, the Undead have one added trick that helps make them such a formidable agent of chaos: the more death they cause, the greater their own numbers become. The Undead, however, are notorious for not being the easiest creatures to keep indisposed. There’s necromancy for raising new undead creatures (or bringing back the fallen ones), viruses and plagues that lead to undeath, and so on and so on. Whether created by magic or malady, once the Undead show up they are guaranteed to keep on keeping on until they are stopped at the source. Not all Undead are subservient to a higher power, such as Liches, as evidenced by The Walking Dead and George Romero’s (Whatever) of the DeadContinue reading