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whatever happens

April 2017

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whatever happens

I have a question for you fantasy readers out there... who started the tradition that the hero of a fantasy quest adventure has to begin by having his home razed and/or burned and all his family killed? It wasn't Tolkien, who started quite a few fantasy traditions.

I ask because I've seen two movies and started a series recently that all began their hero's quest in that way (Eragon, Pathfinder, and The Legend of the Seeker). It's getting irritating. I mean, does a hero need to have no place else to go before he'll move his ass out on his quest?

Comments

In modern fantasy, I think that honor goes to Robert Howard... But I could be wrong.

The orphaned hero is an old trope tho, I'm pretty sure that it goes back to the beginning of fiction.

Wracking my brains currently over the Greek myths, but a little too tired to sift out the gold from the dross.
I'm going to second this one. Conan technically didn't have his world turned upsidedown to get him moving, but he has been the only survivor of a war on more than one occassion.
Being the only survivor of a war doesn't count, but in the Conan movie, yup, his family was wiped out and his village destroyed. If that's how Howard wrote it, then it's a good possibility!
Good grief....

I never thought about it, but I think it happens in the first of Ursala Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy -- or at least the village is attacked.... (Been a while since I read that.) Can anyone date it back farther than that?
I don't know for sure, but maybe it it originates with the whole "Hero with a Thousand Faces" and "The Hero's Journey" theory by Joseph Campbell. :)
I can't be much help in that department, as my fantasy-reading is limited, and I don't really think that I've read anything that does start that way, although I do know enough about fantasy to know that it's a fairly common happening.

*glomps you* I'm glad to hear from you. I hope you're feeling better.