What Do You Want in Your Hero?
The term ?hero? has many different facets to it, covering ancient mythology all the way to Midwest deli menus. To some, a hero may be the dragon slayer, the conqueror of evil, the one who saves the day. To others, a more personal approach may fit. The designated driver on New Years Eve, the parents who make it to all of their children?s basketball games, these too fulfill heroic requirements. A hero?s quest, however, cannot be limited to any one action. No one good deed or terrific accomplishment makes a story. In The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, the main character is Bilbo Baggins. This novel is all about Bilbo?s journey to become a hero. When he steals the Arkenstone and gives it to Bard, we know his journey is complete. While Bilbo?s actions regarding the theft of the Arkenstone may seem somewhat underhanded, it was those actions that truly mark his complete growth into a hero character.
It was here that our hero fulfills his destiny.
It can be argued that Bilbo is already a hero when he discovers the Arkenstone. He single handedly overcame the spider horde, Golum in the caves, and he rescued the dwarfs from the Wood Elf Stronghold. He even obtained the key bit of information that lead to the defeat of Smaug, the dragon whose destruction was the key focus of the entire novel. With all these obstacles surpassed, Bilbo still has nothing but a trick ring to show for his efforts. If he returns empty handed, then all was for naught. Christopher Vogler writes in his The Writer?s Journey that a hero must ?Return with the Elixir from the Special World; bringing something to share with others, or something with the power to heal a...