My hope for this blog has long been that it will become like those Inn Common Rooms from the fantasy stories we all know and love, where travelers gather beside the fire with a pipe and a mug, rest their boots on the hearth, and share stories and laughter long into the night.
To that end, I’d like to start up a new series of posts, a “Fireside Chat” if you will to chat about characters, themes, and the things that make our favorite stories great and how those stories intersect with real life too!
Those Who Rise Up
I will take it. I will take the ring to Mordor.”
I will never forget the first time I saw the Fellowship of the Ring movie and heard Frodo say those words. Caught in the midst of a quarrel, the council of Elrond fell quiet. Everyone turned to look at the small figure who had spoken. And I found myself holding my breath—even though I had read the books and knew what was going to happen—waiting to see how they would respond.
Because in the midst of that great company, surrounded by world-leaders, by the movers and shakers and mightiest among the elves, dwarves, and men of Middle Earth, Frodo was the one who rose up out of a desire to simply help. Of course, we cannot talk about Frodo’s heroism without talking about Sam’s too. Sam rose up also, unheralded, unapplauded, and unacclaimed, and he literally carried Frodo to accomplish his mission.
Faced with desperate need, both Frodo and Sam chose to rise up and take action, and we love them for it.
There are many different types of heroes in my favorite stories. Heroes who are motivated for many different purposes and who are seeking to accomplish many different goals. But some of my favorite heroes are the ones who are confronted with need, with something terribly, desperately wrong, and they refuse to look away, to stand down, or to sit quietly or comfortably. They choose to act, knowing that it will be hard, uncomfortable, even dangerous.
They choose to rise up.
There are so many examples from the stories that I know and love, so I’ll simply focus on the first few excellent examples that came to mind and give you a chance to share some of your favorites as well!
Fictional Heroes and Heroines
I think of Imraldera from Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Starflower who loves the unlovable and sees the truth they hide inside.
I think of Rowen Mar from Morgan Busse’s Follower of the Word series who has seen the evil inside the human heart, suffers the pain and scars from every injury that she heals, and yet selflessly heals others all the same.
I think of Parvin Blackwater from Nadine Brandes’s Out of Time series who cannot keep silent when faced with the injustice, oppression, and deceit that governs her world.
I think of Kaladin Stormblessed from Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive who fights to save the weak and the dying and the doomed time and again, knowing that he will fail, that he cannot win, and knowing that the weight of those failures will destroy him in the end.
I think of my own dear Ky from the Songkeeper Chronicles who simply cannot stand down when right is ignored and those he feels responsible for are at risk. He rises, and he stands, and if he is beaten down, he will stand up again, and again, and again.
Each one of these characters rises up to meet the needs surrounding them in very different yet equally beautiful ways. They inspire us. Leave us feeling encouraged to do the same.
Real Life Heroes and Heroines
I was originally planning a very different sort of blog post for this week. More tongue in cheek. Snarky. Humorous. Along the lines of last week’s post “So You Want to be a YA Spec Fic Heroine?”
But Harvey struck over the weekend, and even though it has been several years since I moved away from the Houston area, the reports and pictures of the flooding and destruction in all the areas impacted by the hurricane, and the updates from friends who were watching the flooding steadily creeping toward their doors made such a post feel … wrong.
But over the past few days, my social media has been overwhelmed by people who were ready to rise up. Friends. Family. Strangers. Neighbors. Organizations. Businesses. I have never seen such selflessness on such a wide scale. Such community. Such a drawing together. Such a glimpse of what the body of Christ should look like.
So many volunteers. So many suffering. So many giving anything and everything to help out.
They inspired this post.
Their love and selflessness is the ordinary sort of heroism that rarely makes it into movies or books. Collecting clothes at a shelter. Shuttling people to safe places away from the flooding. Boating through city streets. Cooking up hot meals and serving them to rescuers and volunteers.
Need called. They rose up to answer. And my heart is filled with gratitude and love and pride for them because of it.
I think of these characters we know and love. I think of these heroes and heroines of the relief efforts here in Texas, and I think of the chance that we will have to rise up today to meet the needs before us here and now. Whether that’s helping with Harvey relief (volunteering in person, donating to the efforts, or coming alongside with prayer, encouragement, and aid through the weeks and months of recovery and restoration ahead) or another need in your backyard, let’s seek out opportunities to act!
Your Turn! It won’t be a true Fireside Chat if I’m the only one chatting, so comment away!
- Who are some of your favorite characters who inspire you to rise up?
- What are some opportunities that you have found to rise up to answer the needs of those around you?
Let’s continue to pray for the families who have lost so much, for the rescuers and emergency response, and for all the volunteers!