67. Archetypes: The Chosen One
This week Kelly and JJ kick off their Summer of Archetypes with The Chosen One. What constitutes a Chosen One narrative? What are some examples? What are examples of a subverted Chosen One? CAN you truly subvert a Chosen One narrative? Also, our gripes with the TV show LOST.
As we define it, the Chosen One is The One Who Solves the Story Problem, or a singular character with a Greater Purpose.
Some examples of Chosen Ones:
Hercules and other Greek demigods
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Chosen One may or may not be "divinely" or supernaturally ordained, e.g. Frodo and Katniss are not the subject/object of a prophecy, unlike Harry Potter. Regardless of whether fate plays a hand in the choosing of the One, it is when the character takes up the responsibility to defeat The Big Bad that they become a Chosen One.
Is the Chosen One overdone? That is subjective (obviously). Both Kelly and JJ enjoy a well-executed Chosen One story. As we said in our previous Archetypes, Tropes, and Cliches podcast, it's when tropes become shorthand is when they become cliche.
Can you successfully subvert the Chosen One narrative? JJ is not so sure; most attempts to subvert the Chosen One narrative end up playing straight into the trope anyway (e.g. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville). However, Chosen One characters can be a subversion of expectations. Deeba, the unChosen one of Un Lun Dun is a subversion because she's the sidekick/best friend, she's not white, etc. Buffy Summers of Buffy the Vampire Slayer started out as a subversion as well (the "first girl to die in a horror movie" because she's blonde and a cheerleader). Both of these narratives ended up playing the trope straight.
What We're Working On
Kelly is working on agenting stuff
JJ is resting from book 2, but is itching to get back to it and fix it. She's also waiting for news on her secret project.
Books Discussed/What We're Reading
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Off Menu Recommendations
That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll continue our Summer of Archetypes, continuing with the Fatal Flaw! As always if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below, send us an ask on Tumblr, or tweet using the hashtag #askpubcrawl!