• Melissa Volker

A Hero Among Us


If you Google, "What makes a good hero?" in fiction there are a fair amount of hits that come up with lists of qualities and requirements: values, flaws, skills. But I've been thinking a lot about this lately, spawned primarily by things I've been watching that have extraordinarily complex, unexpected, and powerfully moving characters who -- while not necessarily written as a traditional hero, prove heroic nonetheless. Often in spite of themselves. And something occurred to me that to my mind is maybe the most crucial thing a character needs to become the Hero.

Time.

The heroes I'm seeing lately are very much flawed, have mastery over impossible skills, have a strong sense of value (although often within their own parameters and only by a Venn diagram sort of thing do they occasionally cross into what the rest of us would consider of value). But for me, that is not what ultimately leads them to the role of Hero.

Instead, it is the Time we are with them, the Time they are with partnered characters within the story; the time they spend being w