Tough Travels: Messiahs

tough travelsI’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week’s topic is MESSIAHS: If the world needs saving, who are you going to call? Perhaps there is someone out there destined to save everything? Umm, yes. This is definitely not one of my favourite tropes, though making this list was fun! I prefer my protagonists on the more ordinary side, without some crazy shitload of Destiny / Fate / Prophecy hanging over their heads. My list is based on this definition of the word: A messiah is “an exceptional or hoped for liberator of a country or people.” That said, these poor souls are saddled with the future of their peoples:

  1. katniss-mockingjayHarry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (ha, like I needed to write all that). Anyway, from Book 5 (HP and the Order of the Phoenix, which is my least favourite HP book) onward, Harry’s name is often paired with “the chosen one”, as he has to be the one to kill Voldemort. We all know how that ends.
  2. Rand al’Thor from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. He’s the Dragon Reborn, meaning he’ll have to face the Dark One once he breaks out from his prison. He’s also slowly going mad. I got stuck at book 6 but I’m hoping to unstick myself someday, so no spoilers about what happens to him, please! :)
  3. Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. He’s not a messiah per se but I think he counts because he’s basically the last non-evil dragon rider in the world and has to both save the world from destruction and ensure the hatching of new dragons (it’s been a while since I read these so I’m fuzzy on the details).
  4. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. She’s the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion… you know, until she’s not, and she ends up being drugged and alone, and is removed from the public. Which ticked me off to no end because I really liked the first two books in this series.

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Which unfortunate individual did I miss this week?

Share your thoughts, I love to read them! :)

  • I always wonder if I need to put author names at time. Especially Harry Potter or Wheel of Time. I think anyone visiting my blog will know.

    Book five is a weird one for me because it should be my favorite based on what is going on but is also the book of emo CAPLOCK Harry, which drove me bonkers.

    • Kaja

      Yeah, I know – I mostly put down the whole address & author thing so everything is consistent. Also not all of my readers (not that there are many, but still) are into fantasy, so there’s that.

  • “We all know how that ends.” I like your tactful phrasing here. I think everyone does knows how HP ends, but I still feel bad writing it down without spoiler warnings (just in case somebody hadn’t got around to reading them yet!).

    • Kaja

      Yeah, do you think there’s a possibility that someone who reads book blogs doesn’t know about HP & Voldemort? I mean, it’s like living in a cave. It’s like Darth Vader and Luke :)

  • Order of the Phoenix is my least favourite, too. Nathan got it in one – emo capslock Harry sucks. Good call with Eragon! It’s been ages since I’ve read it but I’d agree that the last sane dragon rider thing puts him in the running for messiah. Sadly I never got really into that series; I thought the first book was good and then really didn’t like the second book.

    • Kaja

      Naah, I didn’t particularly like Eragon, either. I read the whole series, mostly so I could tick it off, but I felt it was very… umm… derivative (is that the right word?).

  • I felt a bit daft explaining that Harry Potter is from the Harry Potter series too, but I did it anyway. :D

    Nice list, wish I’d thought to include Eragon!

    • Kaja

      Yeah, Harry is probably one of the best-known characters from literature nowadays. Funny how that happened.

  • Ah, good ol Harry Potter to save the day! And I love the Katniss pick :)

    • Kaja

      Harry is everywhere! :) And Katniss balances the male-female ratio a bit. But most of the messiahs still seem to be male.

  • Still not read Eragon! Eek!!
    Strangely enough The Philosopher’s Stone is my least favourite HP book – followed by Order of the Phoenix!
    Now I need to decide which is my favourite!
    Lynn :D

    • Kaja

      Mine are The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Half-Blood Prince!
      You’re not missing much with Eragon :)

  • The life of a Messiah ain’t that easy, that’s for sure! Thanks god I’m not destined to save anything! You probably could have even put HP for number one and people would know who you are talking about. Book five was also my least favorite – he’s such a brat in that book which is realistic and understandable but it still wasn’t the most fun to read.

    • Kaja

      I felt like Book 5 was written in a hurry, with too much ballast and to little editing. But I can imagine Rowling was under huge pressure to churn out those books at the time!

  • Surprisingly, I can’t think of any characters I’d pick for this right now. I thought there’d be loads, but I’ve gone all blank! I was gonna participate this week, too. *pout*

    • Kaja

      Ooh, a new Tough Traveller! :) Do join us next week, we’re doing pets, yay! :)

  • I put down both Harry Potter and Katniss. The former is clearly a Messiah archetype, having to sacrifice himself to put Voldemort down and everything…but Katniss as a Messiah symbol has been more played up by the movies than the books, I noticed! Anyway, your list also reminds me I should check out Eragon one day…

    • Kaja

      Meh, you can do better than Eragon :) Not that it’s not entertaining and all, but there are loads of more interesting, fulfilling, original books out there!

  • Yes totally Rand Al’Thor! But also Paul from Dune by Frank Herbert. I don’t know about Katniss. I wouldn’t consider her a messiah she was so much of a pawn you know?

    • Kaja

      Yeah, I hated what they did to Katniss in Book 3 as well, but she was used as a figurehead for the whole operation, she was the symbol of hope and rebellion, so I figured she counted.

  • Good choices for this meme! A few others also come to mind: Paul Atreides in the first few Dune novels (Frank Herbert.) Aslan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (the quintessential messiah-figure, since he is an allegory for Christ.) And Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, who first (and accidentally) kills one wicked witch when her house falls on the witch, then takes on another and melts her – liberating not one but two of the peoples of Oz. (Though not “expected”, I’m sure someone like her was hoped for!)

    • Kaja

      Yeah I was Aslan on a couple of other lists – I don’t particularly like Narnia books but I recognise their importance for the cannon :) As for Oz, I’ve only seen the movie *hangs head in shame*. Will have to change that, it’s a classic…