Friday, June 3, 2011

The Lonely Hero a la Dr. Who

Doctor Who (pic from this site)
Lindsay's Dr. Who pictures in her Stages of Rejection post inspired me to watch the show, if only to find out why there appeared to be two different Doctors, three if you count the one I saw in a random episode I caught last year. So now I'm on Season 3 and one main characterization of the Doctor has my mind ruminating:

The Lonely Hero

We see this everywhere in literature, and I think it's something to which we can all relate because at some point in our lives, we have been or will all be alone. Frodo alone must carry the ring. Though he has helpers, nobody else understands what he's dealing with except Gollum, who's not really reliable since he'd kill his best friend for the ring. Harry Potter is lonely from the very beginning. He has moments of friendship that are crucial to his development, but when it comes down to his hero arc, he is basically alone - the only person who understands what it's like to be connected to the Dark Lord through the painful scar on his head.

Back to Dr. Who. He's the last of the Time Lords. His planet is destroyed. It's hard to say what drives him forward other than a will to survive and his personal code which seems to be protect and defend the helpless at all costs. We come to find out he keeps traveling companions as he ventures through time and space, solving the problems and hiccups in the universe temporal stream. The problem is that his companions are more, well, mortal than he is. They age, they die, they crave their families. And none of them can really understand him. He is alone. Always. And I think both the actors playing Doctor Who, whom I have seen thus far, convey that tragically. 
Pic from this site

These pics from this site
The episode I watched last night (at 1am) really broke my heart. Doctor Who was just hanging out in Depression era New York when he spotted his arch nemeses, the Dalek, who are responsible for his entire species dying, except for him. He stares after the Dalek once it has safely passed (because they're terrifying creatures with no emotion) and with fierce and deep pain, he seethes, "They survived. They survive while I lose everything!" And because we've seen what he's lost, we cry for him. 

The Lonely Hero. 

I want to know, Who's your favorite lonely hero? 

And this one's just for you to think about: In what way can you make your own main character the lonely hero?

Now for three giveaways for books and critiques I don't want you to miss if I can possibly help it!

The prizes:

Amparo: A query critique.Angie: First five pages.Lindsay: A query critique.Michelle: First chapter or query critique (winner's choice)Katrina: First ten pages or query critique (winner's choice)Kristal: First chapter critique.
Enter here.


  1. I would have to say the Doctor is my favorite lonely hero EVER. Because he really is completely, tragically alone. I love this post!

    My own character in my new WIP is probably the loneliest I have ever written. She doesn't start out that way, but through the events of the story she becomes truly, absolutely alone. So much so that I've cried for her even though I haven't written to that point yet!

    And yet...we cry because we love them. Partly because of that loneliness, I think.

  2. I love Doctor Who! You should also check out a spin-off from it called Torchwood. That name and characters should ring some bells for you. :D

    My favorite lonely hero is Jean Valjean, from Les Miserables. The things that tear at him and how he does what ever he can to save others. Since he is on the run no one else around him can really know what it's like to be hunted like he is.

  3. Aw, Shallee. So true. "And yet...we cry because we love them. Partly because of that loneliness, I think." Well said.

    Joy, I'm with you on Jean Valjean. If ever there was a tragedy, it's Les Mis - the whole thing.

    One of my favorites is Veronica Mars. For most of the series, she's a lonely hero, keeping her secrets even from those closest to her and rarely feeling like she can completely trust anyone (with good reason).

    That loneliness is definitely universal, not just part of the fantasy and sci-fi heroes.

  4. Awesome post! I do love Doctor Who. i also love that they found the cleverest way of recasting the show -- he regenerates into someone else. Genius!

  5. 3 doctors? Oh no, my dear. There are far more than that. Doctor Who has been around for ages. They just revamped the show recently . I used to be a closet Dr. Who watcher back in high school. (I even went to a convention...shhh.. don't tell anyone.)

  6. Yes! Got one of my pictures from this site, which is an awesome list of all the Doctors ever. :)

  7. My current WIP has the lonely hero, but I think I could make his pain and suffering deeper like you suggest. Thanks!


Add your awesome here: