Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Holding Out For a Hero"

Yes, the song by Bonnie Tyler. I was listening to it the other day. What a shock, I'm a fan of '80's rock...sort of. But that's beside the point. The point is that the funniest application of this song is in Shrek 2. If you haven't seen it, skip to the end when Shrek comes to the rescue. This song accompanies that scene. Now go and read the lyrics to the song. Oh alright, here's the first verse and the chorus:

Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?
Where's the street-wise Hercules to fight the rising odds?
Isn't there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero till the end of the night
he's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast
and he's gotta be fresh from the fight
I need a hero
I'm holding out for a hero till the morning light
He's gotta be sure and it's gotta be soon
And he's gotta be larger than life
Larger than life

Bonnie Tyler maintains a preposterous sort of growl throughout the entire song...again, beside the point. What I'm getting at here is that there is a draw to hero characters who stand up to the overwhelming odds before them. And not just in fiction. I watched Braveheart last night and couldn't get over what an amazing figure in history he is. Aside from the obvious theatrical license they use in the movie, he truly was a remarkable person. His stature alone, especially for that time period, is staggering. His sword was aproximately 66 inches long, the blade making up about 52 inches. It's estimated that he would've had to be about 6 1/2 feet tall to wield it. That, combined with his long-ingrained stand on personal liberty and freedom made him a daunting adversary to the English and a captain worth following to the Scots. Creating a character in fiction worth following is, in many ways, much more difficult to accomplish because that character has to be able to stand up to real life heroes such as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Two people who actually put everything they had on the line to win a free country of their own.


  1. A few days ago I was in the kitchen making cookies and Steve was in the basement with the kids. I heard "I need a hero" and I worried that Steve was showing the kids "Footloose", having completely forgotten Shrek 2. So that song hit a chord with me. :)

    Excellent post about heroes. Too true.

  2. Truth is stranger than fiction...I guess that is the challenge, to create something fictional that is real and believable to people. It's also encouraging, in that if people read something you wrote and say "That would never happen!", you could cite many examples of stranger things happening in real life.

  3. I almost think it's harder to write a female "hero". You have to find the right balance of tough but feminine, brave yet sweet, and the ability to give a great speech without coming across as whiny. And most important, wearing great clothes.