Monday, February 17, 2014

Designing a hero

I have never liked Helen of Troy. She seems so helpless. Homer and others portray her as beautiful, yes, but to me she seems egotistical, self-centered and weak. So when it occurred to me that a kidnapped princess was a good place to begin a story, I set out to describe a  very different young woman than Helen.

Yes Thalassai, the heroine of my novel  Moon of the Goddess, is pampered and lives sheltered in a palace, but when she is plunged into danger, she faces her fears and her kidnappers. She finds there is strength in her, and smarts.  

Sure there is a hero, her brother Melanion, who sets out to free her. He has an important role, and a dangerous journey to make. But when he gets to the kidnappers’ city, he finds that Thalassai has grown stronger and can play a role in her own rescue.

True, it wouldn’t be a novel if things were simple. The god Poseidon is fighting an ancient goddess so the situation is tangled. But it seems important to me that our protagonists offer strong role models not just beautiful, helpless heroes and heroines. They can be flawed as we all are, but finding a way to face and conquer our flaws can make a good story.

Cathy Hird

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