let me be the 1 (one)

As I think I indicated before, I liked The Golden Compass quite a bit, both the book and the movie, though of course the book is much more etc. etc. etc. (you know the drill about books and movies).

But there is one thing I don't care for in the story, and that's the prophecy of the witches. Lyra is special because there's a prophecy that says she will do various things, and the only question is whether she's that child.

Like Neo in The Matrix, like Anakin in Star Wars, the only question is whether she's "The One."

Yeesh. Can't anybody ever just do something because they decide to do it? This is one thing I like about The Lord of the Rings. There's a little hint of "The One"-ness right at the beginning ("Maybe you were meant to have it"), but then that's pretty much dropped and we end up with the council at Elrond's, where everybody argues and yells and insults each other until they come to an uneasy and imperfect agreement, sparked by Frodo's decision to take the responsibility for the Ring himself.

Which, unlike this "One" stuff, is how things happen in the real world. So, if hobbits and elves and dwarfs can work this way, I think Jedi knights and witches and those matrix people could, too. Just like Vicki, who found herself in a particular position, quite unexpectedly, and realized that she could be useful. And even Jan Sleet, who has a rather high opinion of herself, fully appreciates that she ended up where she is by (as she would put it) a combination of random chance and applied intelligence.

Of course, as an atheist, that would be her conclusion. And her atheism will play a part in the current mystery, where she's investigating vampires.

Oh, and speaking of The Lord of the Rings, I do recommend an episode of South Park called "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers." As Cartman would say, it's hella funny.

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3 Responses to let me be the 1 (one)

  1. tsbazelli says:

    I’ve had similar thoughts on this. I can understand how the ‘chosen one’ idea appeals to the reader’s wish to be special, or destined for greatness. However, really I’d be more interested in seeing someone control their own destiny, to choose to be more and accomplishing it, even if there’s not much special about them. I want to see human triumph over adversity.

  2. I think this is especially true of young people. Who wouldn’t rather be Harry Potter than just another Muggle? But, in reality, none of us is destined for good or evil or anything else, except what we decide to to.

    That being said, I think you’re on to something with your subversion of the Chosen One idea. My way of dealing with those sorts of expectations is to ignore them completely.

    Rather than show the struggles that gays and other groups go through to be accepted, for example, I just show a world where they are treated as equals, where it would be strange for any group to be singled out. Which has a value, I think, since it’s can (I hope) spark the imagination beyond the here and now.

    (And, even in what I write, there turns to be some prejudice after all, just in different places.)

    But your approach, taking the trope and spinning it around to show what it’s really made of, is just as important. I look forward to reading what you’re working on.

  3. Pingback: T. S. Bazelli | Ink Stained » There can be only one

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