Tag Archive: trickster hero


Talking to Space

So, related to my last post, and I officially did not manage to win at NaNoWriMo, what all kinds of heroes and heroines really get you guys into a book?

Me, I’m big on trickster hero types who tend to more talk their way around the problem until they have a way to beat it.  Kitty Norville is a good example of this kind of hero I think, sure she is a werewolf but she tends to find herself facing things that would tear her apart regardless if she wasn’t clever enough to see them coming.  She talks her way out of more fights than she jumps into.  That said, I’m also a fan of the more action oriented detective-y version of the trickster,  characters like Jane Rizzoli or the second Question.  The characters who have to put everything together and figure out who did the thing, but then get to go bust the badguy’s heads.

I think that part of the reason I like those sorts of characters over straight up action hero types or standard romance novel heroes comes down to the side characters they go home to at the end of the adventure.  Kitty has her husband and her pack, Rizzoli has her family, and Renee had Aristotle and Huntress.  It humanizes the characters I think, makes them more than just their spot in the plot and less than some perfect ideal of the character type.  I know that the other two types I mentioned have family and friends as well, but I’ve seldom seen them carried on well.  An action hero has family but they get shuffled off to the side for him to be McAwesome or killed off to give him motive.  Romance leads, again, tend to either have very little family so that they don’t get in the way, or their family gets trotted out to show how much of a great person they are and isn’t the other lead lucky to have them.  It just seems kind of off to me, I mean, it fits the genre but maybe that’s because it’s become so much of a convention of the genre that I’ve come to expect it.

So, that was my two cents, what do you guys think?  What makes a good hero type and what gets old quickly?

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As I said earlier in the day, I’m sorry about how late this isClasses and life in general have been kind of crazy lately.  Enjoy!

I’ve been a fan of Orson Scott Card’s since I first picked up Ender’s Game back in seventh grade, so when I got a chance to read The Lost Gate I jumped on it.  It’s a great mix of the mythic and the modern day, very similar to some of Neil Gaiman’s books.

Danny’s the odd man out in his family, a mage with no magic among gods with no worshipers.  A drekka with no place in the North complex.  That is, until the day when he discovers that he’s a gatemage and his world becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse.  Gatemages are killed as soon as they are discovered among the families with exception to the weakest of the weak, those who can sense gates but not make or use them.  Danny is neither weak nor willing to die, so he runs to save his own life and to give himself a chance at learning about his powers.  We see Danny grow up, meet new people, and learn what it means to be human.

As I said back at the beginning I’m a big fan of Card’s Ender series of books, and it looks like I’ll be a fan of this series as well.  Danny is a trickster hero who relies on his brains to stay out of trouble.  He avoids direct confrontation, preferring to misdirect an opponent to taking them on alone.  Like Ender before him, Danny worries about becoming a monster due to some of the choices he makes.  It could’ve gotten a little tiresome, but Card uses Danny’s self doubts to make him a more human figure in comparison to the casual monstrosities of his family and some of the humans that me meets.  I like that Card doesn’t write down to his audience, he seems to expect them to keep up with him, this is a habit I tend to find terribly lacking in current young adult literature.  This is a series that I would start buying for my younger cousins as well as for myself.  That said, my one complaint is how quickly Danny mastered his magic.  It seemed kind of like in a super hero comic where the hero gets new powers just as they need them or, failing that, right before they need them.  Over all, I give The Lost Gate a five out of five.