I may get some razzing for this (and some smack talk as well, given as to how poorly they played yesterday) but I am a Colts fan. Yes, I understand that being an Indianapolis Colts fan is like being a fan of the Yankees. But I’ve been a fan of the Colts since they resembled the old New Orleans Saints. You know, the one led by Archie Manning? So I usually give myself some slack in that regards. Hey, it’s not like I root for the Patriots or anything.
Rooting for a heavy favorite in a novel doesn’t happen very often. Time and time again authors use the “plucky underdog” metaphor when writing the tale of the hero(es). The hero is always outgunned and outnumbered, and the future rides on his actions to Save The Day. There almost always is a love story from someone who has no reason to love the hero, since they come from two different worlds and the likelihood of that Nigerian prince who needs your bank account to transfer $12.3 million being a real person is nil. You read as much dystopian fiction as I do, you start to see a pattern. Yes, I am a bitter old man.
But how can you turn that around? What if you made a hero the powerful and benevolent ruler who is facing an underdog enemy who has the hearts and ideals of a small population? Who, while not having the firepower that the kind and benevolent hero can bring to the table, has that plucky underdog vibe to him and makes life a living hell for the hero? What do you do when the hero, in some eyes, no longer resembles a hero? When the hero starts to look more and more like his evil father?
You see, being a rebel is easy. Leading an insurrection against the evil dictator is simple work, because any casualties of war you can blame on the evil dictator. Anything that doesn’t go according to plan you blame on spies for the evil dictator (trust me, read some more… evil dictators always get the shaft and, worst of all, have spies everywhere… if their intelligence net is spread this f****ng wide, how did the evil dictator miss the rebellion brewing?). The hero has no accountability other than a sleepless night when eventually his best friend since childhood either A) dies heroically saving them all, or B) betrays them all right before the final battle.
So what happens when the hero must be accountable?
Assignment for the week: if you like, write a brief summary about what the hero did after he becomes the new ruler. Does he abdicate the throne in favor of a busty, redheaded dominatrix named Trixie? Does he become a kind and friendly ruler who must battle his own insurgency? Entertain me, please. Be as insane as you want.