Apr 13

As I walk up the fine marble stairway to MCF Mansions I uncomfortably adjust my tuxedo, worryingly aware of the multicoloured superhero suit underneath. After one last nervous check of my reflection in a highly polished window to make sure my super-logo isn’t visible through my shirt, I ring the doorbell. An old, slightly camp and incredibly stereotypical English butler lets me in and, after a snooty inspection of my rather elegantly typed invite, shows me into the main function room.

The subject of this heroic gathering is the discussion of our top 5 heroes from any medium. Trying to pick 5 champions from the whole of human experience is a daunting task but hey, I suppose that’s why I’m paid the big bucks to wear spandex under this dinner suit. Managing to snag a glass of champagne from a passing waiter I cast my eye around for the host, noting with a smile that the seventh book on the top shelf of the last bookcase is suspiciously dust free, unlike the rest of its companions on the shelf. They say a professional can always tell, and if I’m worth my salt I’d lay odds that that book isn’t one meant for reading.

I suppose my first hero, as I walk around the room and take in fragments of conversation as I pass each group, would have to be Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Calm, wise and possessed of a keen mind Picard was a scholar and a diplomat who could still manage to go toe-to-toe with the worst villains the universe could throw at him. A dignified man, he has helmed two Enterprises (to date) through battles, first contacts, hostage situations and numerous wars and minor skirmishes. Picard was proof positive that you could be British, bald, have a penchant for English literature and still manage to be cool. As I live in Britain, have an English degree and my hairline is creeping ever upward, this is excellent reassurance.

I grab another glass of champagne and make my way over to the host, who has just appeared at the other end of the room. As I pass a suspicious looking phone made of transparent red plastic, I can’t help but smile again. Villains get an unfair share of the blame for being formulaic. Heroes like their clichés and catchphrases just as much as any supervillain, perhaps even more so.

Second up would have to be the Doctor from the iconic British TV show, Doctor Who. An ancient Time Lord from a powerful planet known as Gallifrey, the Doctor wanders space and time in his old type 40 time machine, known as a TARDIS. Starting off as an old man, his body was shown to have the power of regeneration, meaning he can change from one body to the next in case of serious injury. The Doctor is enigmatic, funny and always seems able to pull a solution from his capacious pockets when the time is right. He has also by turns been shown to be something of a dandy, a manipulator of events and even something “more than a time lord”, which is an interesting line of thought indeed. Anyone who can pull off the line “Nice to meet you Rose, run for your life!” deserves to be added to someone’s list somewhere, so why not here?

From there it’s a short hop to my third hero. All we need to do is hop over the dividing line from TV sci-fi to historical fiction…there we are! Third up is Horatio Hornblower, from the Hornblower series of novels by C.S. Forester. Self doubting but capable of great things, Hornblower was a man in some ways perfectly suited to his time, and in some ways born out of it. He was a capable warrior and approached a fight with the detached and analytical viewpoint of a born scientist. He deplored the violence and cruelty inherent in the system he was a part of, but his ultimate loyalty was to his mission and to his country. Even so he was capable of surprising acts of kindness, and overall gave the impression of a fundamentally gentle man who gave his considerable gifts and abilities over to his country when it needed them. A hero through and through.

I notice that the crusty old English butler from earlier has approached the host, who looks very grave. A quick whispered conversation and he is off down the hall. As he turns a corner I could swear I heard the squeak of a tuxedo sliding down a pole into a subterranean cavern, but out of politeness I don’t comment.

Fourth in line sees another switch in genre, this time from books to comics. Arise, Optimus Prime. At over 15 metres tall and weighing in at several tons Optimus is physically different from the other heroes in the list (though he has had almost as many new bodies as the Doctor) but is just as heroic as the rest of them. Originally a filing and records clerk on Cybertron, Optimus stepped up to lead the Autobots when called upon to do so and devoted his entire being to the task. In ways similar to Hornblower, Prime was often victim of his own doubts and at times seemed to be his own worst enemy. He always seemed to have faith though, and found a way forward. Having no regard for his own safety he died several times in the course of the comic series, always coming back fighting. That, and he turned into a truck, which just screams cool to a geek like me.

To the practiced ear the distant roar of a rocket powered car is easy to pick up. I wish the occupant of that car a heartfelt godspeed and turn back to the party, figuring it will be a while before the host shows up again.

The last addition to my heroic band is a slightly obvious choice, but I suppose this is my team so I can include anyone I like, right? Step up, Han Solo. You all know Han, and I feel no introduction is necessary. Holder of the Kessel run speed record, Han is everything I wanted to be when I was a kid. Dangerous. Funny. Attractive to ladies. Owned his own starship. Could speak Wookie. He’s in.

There you have it, my five heroes. Is that a large egg shape being beamed onto those clouds? Ooops, have to go now.

Thanks for the champagne. Next time, my place.

12 Responses to “Blog Party III – Heroes”

  1. MCF Says:

    I’m nearly speechless…that format was AWESOME. Well played, hero! Looking forward to your event.

  2. Kelly Says:

    Wow, your write-up was great! I’m not familiar with most of your hero but loved reading the whole piece. Kudos!

  3. averagejoe Says:

    Very well written post! Nicely done!

  4. FawnDoo Says:

    I’m pleased you all enjoyed what I brought along to the party! Cheers for the feedback folks.

  5. Sarah Says:

    I found your blog via a chain of blogs too convoluted to repeat here, but I feel obliged to say: despite the fact that I’m a born-and-bred American, my favorite TV show as a child was Dr. Who, my favorite TV show as an adolescent was ST:TNG (chiefly because of Picard), and some of my favorite books of young adulthood were the Horatio Hornblower series. If I had to choose a literary hero as my favorite I’d probably pick Peter Wimsey, but that’s the romantic in me. Good choices, all ’round!

  6. FawnDoo Says:

    I’m glad you like my choices Sarah, and agree with so many of them! And excellent tastes in TV shows may I say! :-) Have you caught any of the newer Doctor Who episodes that are being made now? I haven’t read any of the Peter Winsey books, but now I know about them I will certainly keep my eye out next time I’m in a bookshop. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Regrettably no, I haven’t caught any of the new Dr. Who episodes yet. I was under the impression that they weren’t being broadcast in the States, but with all these cable channels one would hope it’s in there somewhere! I’ll take a closer look.

    As for the Lord Peter Wimsey series, they’re by Dorothy Sayers, and they’re mysteries (mostly). The first book is “Whose Body”, and I mention that because the titles of the rest of the books don’t give handy clues as to their place in the line.

  8. Kev Says:

    Picard was from France.

  9. FawnDoo Says:

    Sorry, meant to say “Picard, as played by Patrick Stewart…” but when you think about it, Picard was about as French as Lord Nelson. Good lord even when they set a TNG episode in France everyone was British – his brother, his sister in law, his nephew, his best friend, everyone was British! :-) 10 points on noticing my deliberate mistake though! ;-)

  10. FawnDoo Says:

    Sarah, I hope you can get the new episodes over there, but I thought I might pass along this link in the hopes that it might be of some help. Thanks for the tip on the Wimsey books, will definitely pick up the first one and see what it’s like! :-)

  11. MCF Says:

    So ‘Doo, when’s your party, and what’s the topic?

  12. FawnDoo Says:

    My party will be coming soon, just as soon as I have finished up the banner and ironed out the wrinkles for the theme…watch the skies! (well ok, you’d be better to watch the blog but the skies are cool too)

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