This month our Hero Hunter Clare London is taking a look at the Unassuming Hero, which was one of our reader suggestions from last month. They may not be tough or handsome or highly skilled. Yet their behaviour is most definitely heroic…Check out what she has to say and don’t forget to tell us about your heroes, as you may be in with the chance of winning a kindle ebook of your choice.
THE UNASSUMING HERO
Heroism isn’t always about jumping off cliffs, wrestling with lions, or carrying a wounded comrade or lover out of the jungle solely on your shoulders. Even if fiction sometimes says it is.
I’m really enjoying and appreciating the readers’ ideas of what makes a hero, and what kind of hero they like to read about. This month, I’ve chosen the Unassuming Hero to talk about. Please let me know what you think about this character, and any memorable examples you’ve found in your reading.
And keep up with the ideas for future Hero posts – I’ll revisit all of them to choose each month’s theme!
The unassuming hero may not be tough or handsome or highly skilled. Yet their behaviour is most definitely heroic. Sometimes it’s never uncovered – the unassuming hero doesn’t expect to be recognised. But they recognise duty and need, and respond to it. They know they can help – they *want* to help – and what’s more, they go ahead and act on that. They will support their family and friends, carry the flag for important humanitarian causes, promote other people’s success, and often love without expectation of return.
They’re not angels – none of us are! – but their core values make them an admirable role model, and earn our respect. They may live out on a ranch or a farm, working all hours to make a go of the land. They may work in the centre of the city, supporting a good cause or struggling to make ends meet for their own family. They may be a soldier or fireman, seeing their bravery as just part of the job. They may be pioneers in their field, or quiet academics who never realised the impact they have on the outside world. And they may have given up on love and personal reward because, well, there are other important things to be done first, aren’t there?
So why is this character so rewarding to read and write about? I’d say it’s because, in fiction, we can give them their due. We can allow them heroic behaviour that *is* seen, praised and appreciated. We bond with our heroes – tell me that isn’t true and I’ll smile and shake my head – and so we can take that further, and bond with their lives. Listen to us! We’ll make sure that Unassuming Hero is allowed their time in the spotlight / their 15 minutes of fame / their well-deserved Happy Ever After.
Have you read a good example of this kind of hero?
Let’s look at Main Character (MC) and Unassuming Hero (UH) in books. It may be that MC thinks his best friend UH is a mild-mannered, timid type – until the day MC is set upon by muggers and it’s UH who steps in to save the day. Or MC is being held at arm’s length by an UH who’s running the family business and can’t see any time or opportunity for his own happiness. Or UH has secretly held a candle for his best friend MC all his life, yet is always there to help MC through another break-up with another unsuitable lover…
Dickens wrote the most charming UHs – my favourite being Nicholas Nickleby. The character Will in the PB Ryan (Nell Sweeney Mystery) books is depressed and aimless, yet will step up to the plate when he’s paired with the feisty Nell. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird steps into the limelight for a cause he believes in.
The Unassuming Hero doesn’t think they need our love, or maybe even deserve it – but they do. And that of our other characters. In fiction, the virtue and determination of our Unassuming hero shines on everyone else. Long may that continue!
Picture#1 includes a carer from a learning disabilities charity, Alan Turing (broke the Enigma code), Capt John Scarlett (decorated with the Military Cross for gallantry in Afghanistan), and a family caring for literacy issues.
Picture#2 includes Robert L Carver (civil rights activist), a single dad and his family, Jasper Maskelyne (allegedly helped disguise ally tanks during WW2), and a youth football coach.
Meet Clare London
Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Giveaway Winner from March
countrygirlxxoo ~ Unassuming Hero
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can forward a kindle ebook of your choice.
What do you think about unassuming heroes? Do you have any memorable examples you’ve found in your reading? Don’t forget to comment on your favourite hero, as Clare may well be picking that up next month and you could be in with the chance to win a Kindle ebook of your choice.
CONGRATULATIONS go to Jen CW, this month’s winner of Clare’s author column.