The Special One

Cover of Firelight by Sophie JordanThis cover of Sophie Jordan’s Firelight is fantastic, partly because it just is, but also because that eye is something I’ve been struggling to try and create in photo-realistic form for years, without real success (my skills are amateur). Hrana, my vampire in Kings of Infinite Space, has eyes like that – you can see her eyes in the sketches my friend Sylke made for my novel.

Captivating enough that I took a closer look at the book. The blurb reads:

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. …

It goes on, but already I’ve lost the will to read on.

Now, this is not a review, and I am not commenting on the book itself – if the cover is anything to go by, it’s probably a great read.

But, dear gods, this is why I hate looking for books in bookshops. They’re full of this kind of stuff. ‘Marked as special at an early age…’ – why? Why is every other book about some girl or boy who is marked as special? Or, may the gods hang their collective heads in shame, The Chosen One, defined thus by TV Tropes:

The ultimate victim (or beneficiary) of Because Destiny Says So. The oldest and most common Super Hero Origin. The easiest way to turn an Ordinary High-School Student into the only thing preventing The End of the World as We Know It. Take it for granted that they are The Only One.

Lots of people are special. Perhaps they are made special by a trick of birth, or because of certain unique abilities, or through pure chance, but to create a character who is the one special person feels like horribly lazy storytelling to me.

Or pure fantasy wish-fulfillment. I wish I were special…

About Frank

A Sci-Fi & Fantasy author and lyrical poet with a mild obsession for vampires, succubi, goddesses and Supergirl.
This entry was posted in Idle Chit-Chat, Vampires and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Special One

  1. It does seem a bit like wish fulfillment, doesn’t it? But the “Chosen One” trope can be great, if played out correctly. For example, Harry Potter — yes, he’s the chosen one, but he’s such a great character you can’t help but root for him. In other books, though … I’m with you. If you walk through an YA section in a bookstore, it’s an endless string of “Karina is the last of her kind …”, “Jessika doesn’t want to be the chosen one, but she has no choice …” etc. etc. Yeesh.

    • Frank says:

      But Harry Potter is special by chance. You often get the sense in the series that it’s just a label that has been stuck on him, and if he didn’t have so many people helping him out all the time he would be royally screwed. (Mind you, I still haven’t finished the series, so maybe I’m all wrong about that.)

      Contrast Anakin Skywalker who created out of pure plot weirdness to answer an ancient prophesy, or Buffy Summers, who is quite literally The Chosen One, although one of many, and hey I’ll forgive Buffy anything. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Interestingly, I think a big part of how we react to The Chosen One is based on how tragic their story is, and how they cope with it. Buffy and Harry — they’re real people, they struggle against their destiny, they have ups and downs and failures and successes, and that makes us really care about them. Whereas Anakin — that boy is insufferably stupid. “Hmm, I had a crazy dream that my wife is going to die in childbirth. I could either take her to a hospital, or I could join the Sith, kill a bunch of kids, and try to choke my wife to death. Yup, definitely option B.”

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