Every story has a beginning and an ending. The plot is irrelevant just as are the locations, unexpected twists, motives, and a plethora of details. There is a beginning and an ending. And, when the story is completed and the last page had been read, there was the hero and the villain.
The Hero and the Villain
Stories have characters. Stories have conflict. Stories have settings. One might argue that the setting is the most important aspect of a story just as another might give the same importance to the conflict. My belief is the character is most important. They, with their flawed personalities, go with the reader along the story’s journey. They make us weep when they show sorrow or cause our blood to boil at their acts of pathetic evil. They may not have the ability to fly, read minds, lift cars above their head, or any other fantastic power. But, for all intent and purpose, they have a power so much greater.
What is that power? It’s the power of choice. At the end of the story, when the chapter is complete and added to one of the many volumes of recorded history, all that is left is one simple constant other than the beginning and the end. There was a hero and there was a villain.
Hero or Villain: Choices
I would speculate that some of the best stories ever are those with flawed characters. The character, just like us, makes a decision and it is the result of a chosen action – good or bad – that often leads one down a path to hero or villain. Or, it could be the inaction instead of the action.
I’m currently watching Game of Thrones and these cast of characters are an excellent example of choices made. They are all flawed – some more than others – and, if you watch closely, you’ll notice that they all have one thing in common and it mirrors each of us. It’s call motive.
What is a motive? According to Google Dictionary a motive is:
a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.: “a motive for his murder”.
Another way to ask this question is: What motivates you?
The answer to this question is powerful.
Are you motivated by pride?
Are you motivated by greed?
Are you motivated by doing good for others?
Are you motivated by a need for attention and power?
Are you motivated to be better than you were yesterday?
Are you motivated to get to the top – by any means necessary?
Are you motivated by your good works?
Are you motivated by being honest, fair and just?
Are you motivated to be selfless?
Are you motivated by the good example you present?
Are you motivated by selfishness?
Are you motivated by desire?
Are you motivated by doubt?
What is your motivation?
Your Song is Ending
“Your song is ending soon.”
Fans of Doctor Who heard this repeated phrase throughout 2008-2010. This cryptic message foretold: Your song is ending.
Yes, every song must end just as stated above. The plot concludes as the curtain falls on the last act. The characters stand in judgement as the readers of history discuss their actions. Some will be labeled a hero. Others – revealed as villains.
If you were a character in story…a story that ends.
Which will you be?
A hero or a villain?