“You Would Have Done The Same, Were You as Wise as Me and in My Place.” (Heroes’ Version)

Okay, we’re back with the second part of this series of blogs. Why I called it a “series” when there only is two of them, I don’t know…but we’re back. As promised, this article uses the Dark Knight (Christian Bale, none of this Ben Affleck stuff) to make its primary point.

This concept of making decisions for the populace because they lack the wisdom, strength or motivation to do it–remember Thanos– spans a wide variety of characters, both villainous and heroic. It could happen to anyone who decides that the people group that they belong to needs a champion or leader.

When it comes to said leadership, there are two kinds: the kind that is elected by the people, and the kind that is elected by themselves. Either way, they are elected in some way. They are always chosen: sometimes, a hero will go and pick someone else to be the hero (think Gandalf and Bilbo), but in all cases, either one person or many elects an exemplar.

Of course, a president or a mayor makes decisions based on what he or she believes to be wise or right. In more than a few cases, this goes against what the populace believes to be right. However, the sentiment remains the same: “You would do what I have done, were you as wise as I and in my place.” This goes for vigilantes or elected representatives.

Just because an individual takes upon themselves power that they don’t necessarily deserve isn’t always a bad thing. It’s a universal rule that whoever is the most responsible individual in ruling should rule. The most responsible judge should judge. The most responsible jury should adjudicate. The most responsible executioner should execute.

Heroes who share this sentiment tend to be a judge, jury, and executioner rolled into one. A few of them leave out the executioner part, such as pop-culture heroes like Spider-Man and Batman. They are the ones that go where no one else will; they literally seize the day, take the responsibility.

These heroes usually stand in the place of those who can’t or don’t do their job. When the judge, jury, and executioner are lazy, selfish bums, someone has to step up. This person is the vigilante, the outlaw, the Robin Hood, the unsanctioned hero, the exemplar of responsibility.

The hero is identical to the villain in this respect: the villain takes upon himself or herself a responsibility that no others will take. They see themselves as the hero: only, their heroism is pointed in the wrong direction. Instead of saving towns and righting wrongs, they’re committing great evil.

You can use this to question the hero’s (or heroine’s) motivation in himself or herself: “Is what I’m doing right? Nobody elected me. I’m an individual who put myself above the rest. What gives me that authority?”

In the end, nothing can give this person the authority to be above everyone else, except by the consent of the people. However, usually in cases where these kinds of heroes are found, the process of willful election has already been tried–and found wanting. This is the reason why they step up to the plate: either no one can, or no one will. The point is that no one is.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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