“The Chosen One”

This is a trope I’m sick of in fantasy. It’s not that “the chosen one” is bad, but I’ve seen it so much that it’s become cliche. (It’s like the spunky red-headed female lead.)

To me, making the protagonist “the chosen one” is just a reason to put them into the story. It’s a plot device. It’s a way to start a story. It’s like an excuse for them to be there. It’s become a cheap plot device.

Personally, I like a protagonist who makes their own choices which then put into motion the plot, not some “the fates have deemed” or something like that. “The chosen one” takes control/responsibility out of the characters’ hands. They become puppets to the plot. They don’t make their own decisions.

Characters should be active in the plot. Their choices/actions should determine the plot. They shouldn’t be forced into a mold to fit the plot’s demands.

I also put down Harry Potter when it came to “the prophecy” part. Because up until then, Harry had been doing his own thing. Then, it was like everything he’d done had been pre-written. The same thing happened in Throne of Glass. But, unlike other books, both Harry Potter and Throne of Glass waited until deeper in the series to throw that cannonball at readers.

Characters should not exist simply to exist. They should have a reason, a purpose, that they actively make. Even side characters should appear as real people with backstories, ambitions, hopes/dreams, and all that stuff, not robots. I like characters that shape their own destinies and save the world because they want to, not because they were some chosen individual – through determination and perseverance they did what they did.

Anyone could have done it – you don’t have to be special to change the world.

*I have also grown cold toward the “the stars have foretold” or the “the prophecy states” intro, because it takes away the main character’s choice of actively changing the world. I want my character to do things on their own, not because someone told them they had to.

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3 thoughts on ““The Chosen One”

  1. This is certainly an over-used trend in fantasy fiction, but I think it’s a bigger issue than just the term ‘chosen one’. The problem with such protagonists, I’ve found, is that they have no real talents or extraordinary traits of their own.
    They are ‘The Everyman’ or in more modern parlance, they are ‘relatable’ and if you want a character to be ‘just like me’ to the maximum number of people, then they have to have few distinguishing traits about their persons.
    That trend then provides another issue – if this person is totally normal and unremarkable, then *why are they the hero in this story?* And the easiest way to solve that problem is to say that they are the hero “because it was foretold.”
    And yes, that’s lazy, but it’s the inevitable final choice in a series of unimaginative choices, for me. Be bold and brave with your characters and they can just be the heroes because they are fun and awesome and have the skills to hold their own in the story!

    Liked by 1 person

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