Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Top Six Best Heroes
Hello, there! The new 'top' list comes a day early, as tomorrow, it is not likely that I will have time to post anything. Enjoy!
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Last week, I did a list of my top six favorite antiheroes. This time, get ready for... Top Six Best Heroes!
Before we begin, I would like to make this statement: Jesus is the NUMBER ONE hero of them all! No one is greater than Him.
But, that being said, I do have a few other heroes. (Forgive me if three of these are from J.R.R. Tolkien's works. I did warn you that I was a Lord of the Rings fan!)
And now, without wasting unnecessary time, let's get down to business!
WARNING: Spoilers ahead.
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#1: Beleg Cuthalion
Story: Narn I Hin Hurin (The Sons of Hurin)
Beleg Cuthalion is an elf of Doriath who makes his home in the north-marches. He meets and befriends the boy Túrin when he arrives in Doriath seeking shelter. Together with Mablung, Beleg teaches the young lad the art of combat, archery, sword play, and the like. Over time, Beleg and Túrin become close friends.
After Túrin is wrongly banished for a crime that was not his fault, Beleg, Mablung, and the elf maiden Nellas bring to light evidence that proves his innocence. When King Thingol pardons Túrin, it is Beleg who volunteers to search for him and bring him back.
While Beleg fails to convince Túrin to return, he decides to stay with him and help him where he can. Of all the people in this story, Beleg is probably the truest, selfless, most honest and wise character of them all. In every instance, he behaves as he ought to, whereas everyone else makes terrible mistakes that lead to disastrous consequences. Beleg is a quietly heroic character, and the best friend anyone could ask for. He continually forgives Túrin for his prideful nature, and never ceases to give him good advice. When he meets his tragic end, my heart cried out- for it seemed that with him died all hope of a happy ending.
#2: Aragorn Ellessar
Story: The Lord of the Rings
The last heir of Isildur, Aragorn lived most of his life in hiding, keeping his true identity secret. He was known simply as Strider, a grim ranger who was treated with suspicion by all. However, when he learns that the Ring has been found and that Frodo has set out on a quest to destroy it, he immediately offers his help to the hobbit. Time after time, he risks his life to protect the hobbits and ensure the success of their mission. Aragorn does not feel the need to be in the spotlight, or to take all the credit. For years, he defended the little town of Bree from terrible foes, yet never once received a word of thanks. Most of the townsfolk didn't even know of his great deeds.
Aragorn proves to be a cool and level-headed companion, and often offers wise advice. Over the course of the three books, he starts to take on leadership and responsibility for the Fellowship, and fully accepts his destiny to become King of Gondor. His journey from shadowy ranger to valiant king is subtle, but by the time The Return of the King comes along, and we are given a glimpse back at his character in The Fellowship of the Ring, we are amazed at how much he has grown. When he finally takes the throne at the end of the book, we know with great assurance that he will see Gondor restored to its former glory, and that Middle Earth is bound for an age of peace once more.
Story: The Lord of the Rings
Faramir is the youngest son of Lord Denethor, the Steward of Gondor. All of his life, Faramir has known that Denethor favors his brother Boromir over him. Faramir is weaker than Boromir, and does not have a mind for battles and war as his brother does. Instead, Faramir prefers to listen to tales of the noble kings of old, and learn wisdom from Gandalf the Gray, who often visits him.
However, Faramir wants desperately to please his father, and trains with Boromir in order to do so. He and Boromir are very close, and harbor no ill feelings toward one another. Faramir would follow his brother anywhere.
After Boromir's death, Faramir comes across Frodo and Sam as they attempt to enter Mordor. According to the laws of Gondor, Faramir has them arrested for trespassing, and takes them to a hidden refuge to question them. There, he learns of his brother's fate, and is deeply grieved.
Sam is very suspicious of him at first, however, when faced with the temptation of the Ring, Faramir proves himself to be honorable through and through. He bravely refuses to take the Ring from them, telling them that even if he saw it lying on the side of the road, he would not take it up. He is able to completely resist the corruption of the Ring, even when he knows that if he were to take it, it would likely give him much favor with Denethor.
Watching the interactions between Faramir and his father is absolutely heartbreaking. Denethor completely disregards his son, and Faramir knows that he can do nothing about it. However, it is proved, near the end, that Denethor does feel love for him, and regrets the way he has treated him for his whole life.
I was delighted to see that Faramir gains a just reward for his integrity; true love. He and Eowyn of Rohan are some of the few people who get a sweet and happy ending.
#4: Obi Wan Kenobi
Story: Star Wars
Obi Wan Kenobi is the teacher of Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One. He has a difficult job, as Anakin is reckless, hot-headed, and prideful. However, he is faithful in his job, and becomes like a father to the young boy.
As Anakin grows up, their relationship turns from that of a father and son, to a deep brotherly bond. They respect one another, and work extremely well together. While they have their misunderstandings, they are intensely loyal to one another, and are rarely separated.
Obi Wan is brave, devoted, calm, wise, and courteous. He doesn't revel in the glory as his padawan does, and in fact, he is rather shy. He prefers a quiet life to all of the adventure and conflict he often deals with. In the midst of a galactic war, he manages to keep his head on straight and his priorities in order.
When Anakin is corrupted by the Dark Side and betrays the Jedi, Obi Wan is heartbroken, but he knows that he must put a stop to Anakin's evil. In one terrible battle, brother against brother, the two friends are pitted against one another, and the outcome is tragic.
However, Obi Wan manages to walk away from the event, and goes on to keep watch over Anakin's son, Luke, raising him up to become a hero in his own right. Without Obi Wan, the eventual defeat of the Empire would not have been possible.
#5: Lucy Sabine
Story: Moonraker's Bride
Lucy Sabine (born as Lucy Warring) was raised in China, however, she is English by blood. When she was just a baby, her parents died of the fever, and her care was handed over to old Mrs. Prothero, the keeper of an orphanage for baby girls.
As she grows up, Mrs. Prothero does her best to instill the English culture into Lucy. Because of this, Lucy grows up between two worlds, never really a part of either. However, she is a mature, responsible, and brave young woman who cares deeply for those around her. As Mrs. Prothero's health fails, and the orphanage's financial state crumbles, Lucy is forced to steal for a living in order to feed the children. One day, she is caught in the act of stealing, and thrown in prison.
It is there that she meets Nicholas Sabine, an Englishman who was arrested and sentenced to death while treasure hunting. Taking pity on her, Nicholas suggests a plan that will get her out of prison and set her up with enough money to live comfortably for a good while. She must marry him.
Sure enough, Lucy marries him and is released, and is grieved to hear of his execution not long afterward. However, this is only the beginning of her adventure. Shortly afterward, Lucy finds herself bound for England to become the ward of an English family. There, she finds herself entangled with a mystery and a feud that is generations old. Only she holds the key to it's unraveling, but even she herself does not know that that key might be.
Lucy is an honest, caring, and brave young woman who proves to be sensible even in times of great peril and stress. She comes as a shock to the calm, post-Victorian English world, but her determination makes her endearing to most people who get to know her.
#6: Howl Pendragon
Story: Howl's Moving Castle (book)
Howl Pendragon (born Howell Jenkins) is a talented and powerful wizard. He is selfish, self-centered, self-absorbed, dishonest, and vain. He is a dashing, roguish gentleman who seems to enjoy making young women fall in love with him. However, as the book progresses, it is revealed that part of his behavior is a result of the fact that he lacks his heart- a problem which he must soon remedy, or risk his ultimate doom.
Despite his many negative qualities, Howl proves to be loyal and thoughtful to those around him. While he calls himself a coward (and often is), he also shows himself to be very heroic and self-sacrificial, especially when those he cares for are threatened. He overcomes his fear in order to protect the people he loves. While he is a vain, cocky fellow, he also knows where to place his priorities in times of danger. He is very endearing, and makes amends for his bad behavior by doing subtle good deeds without telling anyone. Over the course of the book, he falls in love with Sophie Hatter, and tries many times to release her from the spell that binds her. However, in the end, it proves to be she that rescues him from the terrible curse that pursues him, and they are happily wed.
One of the reasons Howl is one of my favorite heroes is that he is far from perfect. The flawed characters seem to be the most realistic and memorable. While I myself would never have married a man like Howl, he is a good, brave hero, worth remembering- if only as an example of what not to emanate!
(Credit for the image of Beleg goes to Anna Lee. No copyright infringement intended.)