Dang if this isn’t something I’ve wondered about for a long while….
This is from Elizabeth Bear (sci fi/fantasy author’s) blog, Throw Another Bear in the Canoe.
So basically this is Fran Wilde’s fault, because I was on a tear about it the other night and she told me I needed to write a blog post. So here’s a blog post. (Does anybody even read blogs anymore? Tap, tap, is this thing on? “140 characters is all anyone will ever need.”)
My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie.
I thought for a minute that Guardians of the Galaxy was going to pull off a subversion. They were so close. All they had to do was have somebody make the point that We Survived The Magic Radiation Because We All Worked Together, but no, it’s the pure fucking light of Chris Pratt’s Y chromosome that rescues the day again.
This is the part where I point out my love for Farscape, in part for not falling for this shit—in fact, for relentlessly subverting the Corn-Fed White American Dude Goes To Space And Brings American Values To The Natives narrative. In part by showing space and aliens driving Crichton nuts, and in part by surrounding him with endless competent awesome women.**
You know, I’ve taken a lot of responsibility in my life, and never once has it resulted in me becoming a Chosen One. I guess it’s the lack of a broken chromosome.
Anyway. So tired of that narrative. Somebody please write me the book or movie where it turns out that the chick was the Chosen One all along?
*Remember Bulletproof Monk? Neither does anybody else, except me, and that’s because it pissed me off. It’s really fun to watch Toronto cosplay New York ineffectually throughout the movie, though.
And, also, this— It’s something I remember AvannaK pointing out about Valka in How to Train Your Dragon 2. Very good points all around.