Friday, May 2, 2014

Fantasy Reflections: Humble Beginnings

And it’s Friday! Time to close out your week with a bang and a mind-blowing puzzle. (Since you’re obviously not already exhausted enough at the end of a long week.)

Pray excuse me a devious chuckle.

We’re talking about chosen ones again today … and humble beginnings.

Fantasy Reflections 13

Whenever I think about humble beginnings, I can’t help remembering what Dr. Erskine tells Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger on why he was chosen to become a super-soldier.

“Because a strong man, who has known power all his life, will lose respect for that power. But a weak man knows the value of strength and knows compassion.”

Perhaps this is why so many of the Chosen Ones in fantasy novels tend to come from humble beginnings. Perhaps it’s simply because we love watching someone rise from the dust, shake off the ashes, and step out into the spotlight wearing the victor’s crown.

A Cinderella story … of sorts.

As for me? Well, I would probably start out as something terrible ordinary … like a stable-hand. Mucking out stalls. Grooming horses. Cleaning tack. Trudging through muck and mire in all sorts of inclement weather and bedding down at night on a pile of musty straw in the corner.

Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

Until the call for adventure arrives at which point I would saddle the best horse in the saddle and dash off for parts unknown!

Heroic deeds await!

How about you? What humble beginnings would you come from?

21 comments:

  1. Hmmm...if I were to put a spin on my real situation, I would be the farmer's daughter with not much chance of going anywhere. (Not that that's entirely accurate). OR, if I were to go with my preferred character background, I'd probably be some kind of orphan or abandoned child with interesting ways of surviving that usually get me into some kind of trouble, which would then send me on my way to the adventure. :)

    God's Not Dead!

    www.wonderfulworldofmylife.blogspot.com

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    1. "Interesting ways of surviving that usually get me into some kind of trouble ..." Sounds like a character I'd enjoy reading about! :)

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  2. Me, I'd be my ordinary self. red-haired oldest daughter with a pile of siblings, poor family in a rural area out in the hills, where there is no culture or even nice-looking princes. They've never had enough, let alone money for classes to advance talent. Her troubles have driven her almost to bitterness, but she clings to a shred of hope.
    Maybe she'll be noticed by publishers, or talent-scouts looking for the next Hayely Westenra. Maybe a prince will get a flat tire on her street. Stranger things have happened. We once had a fire truck crash in our yard.

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    1. A fire truck crashed in your yard? That's pretty strange. Odd things are known to be found in rural yards....never any princes with flat tires though.

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    2. You should turn this into a story. :) Including the fire truck crashing in the yard ... and the prince with a flat tire. I would totally read it!

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    3. A prince driving a fire truck...

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  3. This one is hard.

    I think I'd probably come from a peasant family, I'd be used to working hard, and have a great work ethic. Then, maybe I could take on work as a scullery maid, and work my way up to a lady-in-waiting. Then I'd be in the perfect position to find quests and discover evil plots.

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    1. Scullery maids and ladies-in-waiting tend to be rather ignored in fantasy, but both could potentially play a vital role in either foiling an evil plot or assisting with an assassination!

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  4. My current project the MC is a girl from a working class/craftsman background who befriends a girl from the ruling magicians class when she rescues her from being lost in the woods because magicians, while powerful, are not very practical. A lot of the book is the magician girl trying to do things with complicated spells only to have her more practical friend say, "Did you even try to see if the door was locked?" then pick the lock with a hairpin.
    Personally, I'm not very practical. I think I would need some sort of protection, be it a sheltered background like a cottage in the woods or a benevolent protector to last in most fantasy situations. I'd probably be the farmer's or woodcutter's daughter who is naive but kindhearted who finds the wounded knight in the woods and insists on nursing him back to health and then following him like a puppy when he leaves even though he tells her she can't come because it is dangerous.

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    1. Hairpins ... what would we do without them? :) I feel like the number one law of magic should be to only use magic if there is not a simpler non-magic way to do it!

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  5. I'd like to be someone abandoned or, even better, someone hidden away in humble surroundings for protection. Being a blind individual in real life, I think it would be neat to incorporate that into a fantasy setting. The peasant who finds me could have a kind heart and take me in despite his misgivings. As I grow up, I could be proficient in music, (stereotypical, yes, but it's always something I've enjoyed). Somehow, a royal passerby could happen upon my family's cottage, hear me sing or play an instrument, and invite me to become a court musician, thus setting the stage for me to overhear dastardly plots or to somehow become embroiled in court intrigue.
    Wow! I think a story might be brewing even as I write this.

    Great post.

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    1. That sounds like a good story...please write it!

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  6. I would be the eldest of many children, a bit of an outsider, a goat-herd.....I'm actually describing myself....that means...adventure is just around the corner! It should arrive by my next birthday, as they always do.

    I guess that is why I like characters such as Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Rose Red, and Donita K. Paul's Ellicinderpart.

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    1. Adventure and birthdays do tend to go hand in hand in fantasies, don't they? I've missed most of my other adventurous birthdays ... so now I'm stuck waiting for Gandalf to arrive on my fiftieth and whisk me off into some crazy adventure! :)

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  7. Let me see, if you were to put it into story settings, I would be the second oldest daughter of a farming family who eventually moved (let's pretend it's because there was a famine or something like that) to a small town where my mother started a bakery and an inn where I and my siblings work. I study at the local academy (or whatever is the equivalent of a community college?) and hope to make a living someday that involves music and writing while I dream of unlikely adventure...

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    1. Hi Elizabeth! So glad you stopped by!

      Ooh, sounds like a fascinating story! That wouldn't be the Academy of Ultimate Villainy, now would it? Or perhaps the Warrior-In-Hero-Training school at the Round Table? Though I suppose if you were attending either of those places, adventure would be likely at best and unavoidable at worst. :)

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  8. Wow, Gillian, you brought up the very topic that has been swimming around in my head recently. I have been considering a hero who is chronically ill. Someone who lives with pain every day, may go from energetic and active one moment to sick and exhausted the next, and yet possesses skills or insight that allows the hero to save the day! Yes, it's based somewhat on my real life, although chronic illness in fiction (rather than in real life) is so much more dramatic and exciting! The hero's limitations would require unusual creativity to overcome in the story-writing process!

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    1. Isn't that cool when that happens? Great minds thing alike, eh? So many of those things that seem so dramatic and exciting in fiction - desperate escapes, dangerous circumstances, battles, staring death in the face - are not nearly so pleasant or exciting in real life. But that would make for a neat story. I would definitely read it! :)

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  9. I love humble beginnings. I did this with two of my books, it was a lot of fun.

    Me? I would probably be a waitress in a tavern or something because I would need the money and that would be the only place that would hire me. And I'd be dashing about all the time cleaning tables and serving food and having to take it back when customers complained. Then something would happen and I'd go on an adventure 8-D

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    1. "Having to take it back when the customers complained." Dearie me, what sort of establishment are you running? :) That sounds like it would be a fun fantasy job. You'd hear all sorts of exciting stories from the travelers passing through ... might even pick up on a handy dandy skill or two that will save your life when adventure strikes!

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  10. I would want to start out as either an orphan or girl from a poor family apprenticed to the head Keeper of Birds in the palace (I'd go for apprentice/servant/daughter to any royal keeper of a fantasy animal, actually). That way I could be near creatures of the Avian persuasion, and close enough to palace life to get sucked into some intrigue or special mission or adventure. Either that, or I would want to be the daughter and/or apprentice/servant of the royal scribe/chronicler/librarian (access to books, lots of boookkkssss...I might not be able to read if I were a servant, though. Which means I would have to either search out some kind soul to teach me, or try to teach myself. Ooo, in a world where reading and writing are skills limited to royalty and the like, that could be what gets me into adventure: a servant who no one suspects of being able to read their secret papers, or write down secret conversations), or a musician.

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Love hearing from y'all, so please join the conversation! All I ask is that you keep all comments friendly with the goal of starting enjoyable conversations about fantasy and good books with other novel lovers! Overly negative comments will be banished to the netherworld and the less than pleasant company of the various balrogs, trolls, and monsters already imprisoned there.