I recently finished NaNoWriMo and working on a novel about the Chosen One, fated to defeat great evil in an ancient prophecy. Well, actually, it’s about his very smart best friend who gets a bit overlooked. Playing with the tropes? Oh, definitely! So I thought it would be fun to look at a few other stories about Chosen Ones…
1) Harry Potter series by JK Rowling – This is, of course, the juggernaut, the one that, for this time period at least, defines all the others. I like Harry Potter a lot though I’ve never been one of the really dedicated fans. And I like Harry the individual reasonably well, although…how great is Hermione??? I reread these not long ago, and my experience reading Harry Potter as an adult was mostly that this whole fight against Voldemort would have been over much sooner if Hermione had been allowed to take the lead. Inspiration for my recent novel draft? Oh, definitely!
2) Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen – Eerily similar to Harry Potter in many ways, though only one, much shorter and also simpler book. I do especially like Henry in this one, and while he has a smart female friend, he carries his own load in defeating the big bad villain.
3) Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier – A different style of fantasy from all the others here (not a boarding school, for instance), this is a really interesting story of prophecies and people who believe in them, with (at the risk of a spoiler) a very nice twist besides. And a female lead, incidentally!
4) Carry On (Simon) by Rainbow Rowell – An interesting backstory here, because Rowell wrote Fangirl, where the lead character Cath is writing a fanfiction novel called Carry On, Simon about a (I assume!) Harry Potter-inspired Chosen One character from his own (fictional) series. And then Rowell wrote Carry On about said-character, which is sort of Cath’s novel, but not… Anyway, with or without said-backstory, it’s a fun adventure that, not unlike mine, is deliberately playing with some tropes of fantasy Chosen One stories. Great fun.
5) Percy Jackson series + Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan – Chosen One fantasy with a mythological twist, Percy fits right in the mold with Harry and Henry, and Annabeth would probably be best friends with Hermione (if they didn’t turn into fierce competitors instead). I like Percy–and I love Annabeth–and getting some parts from her point of view is one reason I actually like the second series better. Riordan is funny and clever and rarely have I seen a Chosen One story where it was SO clear that Percy’s apparent weaknesses turn into his strengths. As happens in good kid fantasy, of course.
That’s a handful, but there must be many more! Do you have a favorite Chosen One of literature?
One thought on “Favorites Friday: Chosen Ones”
Tolkien’s Ring Trilogy can be considered a Chosen One series, in that only Frodo seems to be pure enough of heart to carry the ring and destroy its evil. But what’s interesting, and often overlooked, is that, in the end, even Frodo comes up short. He can’t bring himself to destroy the ring, and the “happy ending” is in large part brought about by Gollum’s greed and stupidity. Which raises the question: why did this particular Chosen One turn out to be unable to fulfill his mission? My guess is that, devout Christian that he was, Tolkien was saying that all of us, save Christ, are flawed in some way.