8 Things Heroes Should Never Do
Updated: Aug 31, 2018
After years of reading incredible stories of amazing people on significant journeys, I have noticed there are a few things truly heroic characters shouldn’t do. In some cases, these things are beneath the dignity of the story - or the author. In others, the activities diminish the character. Heroes might be rogues, addicts, or outright murderers . . . but here are eight things they should not do . . .
Poop in the woods - The Fellowship crossed the whole of Middle-earth, and never once did they search out some decent leaves to use as toilet paper. In this case, the myth is preferred over the ignoble realities of medieval life on the road.
Catch a cold - Life-threatening illnesses and gaping wounds are fine, but none of us want to hear how difficult it is to fight evil and a viral infection at the same time. Luke Skywalker is simply too heroic to have the sniffles - frostbite is fine though.
Burst into show tunes - I may be revealing my own bias here, but I believe there are some legitimate reasons Star Trek the Musical is not a thing. Stilted dialogue and ridiculous alien races are fine - but James T. Kirk should never burst into a song and dance routine. Do you hear me, Shatner?
Kick a puppy - I don’t mean this figuratively. The moment a character really kicks a puppy, they cast off their last heroic remnants and cross over to the dark side. The crew of Serenity put up with betrayal, disobedience and rampant stupidity from Jayne, but if he ever kicked a puppy? The Hero of Canton would have been spaced faster than a hungry Reaver!
Drink pink cocktails - Again, it may be personal preference here. Perhaps you have your own perspective on properly colored beverages, but pink - regardless of gender - robs the hero of gravitas. Would you really respect the tuxedo-clad spy who says, “I’ll have a Pink Lady. Shaken not stirred.”?
Pick their nose - Rincewind is as cowardly and craven as they come. He lacks talent, determination, nobility, honor, intelligence and pretty much anything else that makes a hero. But he doesn’t pick his nose. Hero material indeed.
Poop their pants - A hero can certainly fall victim fear - we all sympathize with that. The hero can even overcome wetting himself, but no one respects the brave, brave knight who soiled his armor. That’s the last poop-related activity - I promise.
Whine about life - Honestly, I can accept complaints about anything else. Hate riding horses? Okay. Trail food tastes terrible? Sure. Companions all work your nerves? Understandable. Just please stop sniveling about how your ambitious wife transformed you from a half-trained blacksmith into a rich, powerful noble. Okay, Perrin?
There you have it. These eight things can turn a hero into a schmuck in a single scene. Character flaws and failures add depth to characters - but there are limits, right?
I’m going to finish my Pink Lady now.