It's that time again. Once more my friends over at Smash Fiction asked me to step up to the mic. So this week, if you head over to the Smash Fiction podcast (you can listen here or grab it on any pod catcher) you can catch yours truly advocating for the one... the only... BEOWULF!
Yes, this week we have a four way dance with Beowulf squaring off against Lancelot, Odysseus, and Cu Chulainn. It was a heck of a battle to research for, especially on top of everything else I was already doing. Trying to figure out what the most pertinent weak points of my three opponents might be and what to stress about Beowulf (I mean... what isn't impressive about Beowulf?) was quite the challenge. I had a blast, like always, and I look forward to the next time I'm called to Court of Geek.
But since we're talking about epic heroes, let's take a closer look, shall we? What makes a character an epic hero? At first this sounds like an impossible question to answer, but thanks to the good people at Writing Excuses I have an answer. They refer to them as "iconic heroes." It's not about the magnitude of the adventure or the historic nature of the text. It's about the character themselves and, basically, your epic hero is one who isn't changed by the events of the plot.
Lancelot, Beowulf, Cu Chulainn, Odysseus, Hercules, Conan the Barbarian... they don't change. They don't come out on the other side of their grand quest a better person. Or a worse person, for that matter. They come out as they entered. They are a rock, an archetype that we can rest on for stability. They will always be as they are and no hardships will alter that. That is what makes a hero and an epic hero.
They don't change because they already embody what is most desirable, most admirable in a hero. Whether it's strength, cunning, bravery, or some mixture, epic heroes stand above the rest. Now... does that make them better heroes? Most certainly not. Flawed, human heroes are far more interesting these days, but there's something to be said for those iconic heroes. They inspire new tales even today. How many times have we re-told the tales of Arthur? How many stories took inspiration from Beowulf (I'm looking at you, Elder Scrolls.)? Would we even have Superman if not for Hercules? All I can say for sure is... you better freakin' listen to that podcast. MeganBob put us in a very weird, slightly uncomfortable lightning round and I need others to share in this and ease the stress on my poor brain!
Be Excellent to Each Other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.