Defining Heroes

In the world of literature and movie and television, heroes and heroines continue to be the greatest source of inspiration for children and adults alike. A hero is usually a human being or a main fictional characters who, against insurmountable odds, consistently combats adversity by courage, ingenuity, or extraordinary strength. Just like other previously solely gender-defined terms, hero can be used to describe any gender, although hero only seems to apply to girls. These days however, boys are becoming more identified as being hero types, especially in the realm of adventure and war.

Most of us have heard the term hero used in reference to someone who acts out of a sense of bravery, and who then goes on to be revered as a hero. For example, the hero in War Games, which is quite possibly the most popular interactive role-playing game on Earth, continually goes beyond his or her own limits to do extraordinary things. Likewise, in Harry Potter, the hero, Lord Voldemort, repeatedly tries to kill the protagonist, Harry Potter, at all costs, even when it would truly not be worth it. Both of these examples are set up as true heroes, and they are very much apart from the everyday person who merely strives to survive and work hard. The protagonist of a story may also be called a hero, but this designation is also sometimes given to the person most capable of solving a problem or coming out of a dangerous situation. Sometimes, the title of the hero can be matched with that of the villain, if the story calls for such a thing.

The term “hero” has different meanings to different people. For some people, a hero is someone who surrenders to fate, while others believe that heroes must be born with qualities that make them naturally capable of overcoming great odds. Still, for many people who play fantasy role playing games, a hero is defined by qualities that are not normal for their kind of profession or daily life. Thus, some gamers choose to go beyond the usual stereotypes and think of themselves as real heroes, while normal gamers would prefer to stick to what they perceive to be real and normal.

In the world of role playing games, a hero may be defined as the protagonist in a story, someone whose act of overcoming adversity or the plot’s resolution is ultimately responsible for the success of the story. This idea is central to the way that many modern games set themselves up. The hero may have to fight an entire organization, the plot’s major characters, or several other major players on the field of battle. However, the protagonist does not have to personally battle any of these opponents or even lose any of his/her limbs in order to be a hero in the eyes of the game’s story.

What makes a hero unlike a heroine in a story is the fact that the hero’s actions must have a good result in the overall scheme of things. This can be contrary to what most fairy tales present, where the end result is the overcoming of great evil or the overcoming of a seemingly impossible obstacle. A hero acts only when it is necessary and he does not worry about the outcome. He may face great danger and suffer injuries, but he still figures out a way to come out a winner. In such a situation, the action of the hero fulfills the purpose of the narrative.

The difference between being a hero and a bad guy lies in the fact that only the protagonists of fairy tales and stories set in medieval times or popular cultures can be defined as real heroes. Most of the protagonists in today’s games are usually forgettable, the heroes are usually too popular or too powerful to be remembered in depth. This makes them less inspiring than the protagonists of old.

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