Heroes and reality

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 4 19:28:23 EDT 2003

--- Gill Othen <gill at othen.fslife.co.uk> wrote:
> From: Robyn Starkey <rohina at shaw.ca>
> Subject: Re: Heroes and reality
> I'm not sure I agree with this, can you give an
> example of your
> interpretation? I was thinking about how much
> psychological angst her heroes
> seem to have.
> Oh, they have angst in spades, but they also take
> for granted a variant on
> theocracy, a monarchical system, an aristocratic
> structure of society, the
> concept that the ultimate destination of a
> successful merchant will be the
> aristocracy....... A lot of the psychological
> problems they have are also
> linked to concepts such as divination, magic,
> alchemy, which are hardly part
> of our world. The Dame de Doubtance could hardly
> have such an influence on a
> real modern hero as she has on Francis.
> >>The fact that Lymond recovers from multiple
> penetrating chest wounds *at
> all* is highly unrealistic. <<
> But such things did happen. Look at Federico de
> Montefeltro, who lost an eye
> and half his face, yet was one of the most powerful
> condottiere of Italy
> *after* that - and ran the court at Urbino that was
> the model of a
> Renaissance court.
> >>If that were the only miraculous recovery he has,
> it might be reasonable,
> but he recovers from similarly serious
> injuries a number of times. All this on top of a
> constitution which ought to
> have been seriously damaged by his time as a galley
> slave. Niccolo is the
> same but more so: hit by a windmill, hacked in the
> chest by an axe, to name
> but two.<<
> The number of times they recover may be a little
> suspect, but the fact of
> each recovery is not particularly so - professional
> soldiers had to have
> strong constitutions, after all.
There is also an expectation on the part of the reader
that a hero will be heroic and capable of more than a
normal person. They will be able to survive wounds
that would kill or maim a lesser person.
There also seems to be a belief these days, doubtless
fostered by Hollywood, that if you get hit be a sword
or a bullet you automatically, and instantly die. It
always seems to me a very unrealist element in battle
scenes in films that anyone other than the hero (or
villain) who gets hit be a sword or shot just lies
down dead. The aftermath of such a battle in reality
would be large numbers of people crying out in agony,
trying to crawl away, not a silent field of corpses. 


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