The Chosen One Trope: A Timeless Journey of Heroes
From ancient folktales to modern novels and screenplays, the concept of a savior rising to fulfill a grand destiny has been a recurring theme. The Chosen One trope still captures the imagination of readers and viewers for centuries. And presents us with unforgettable stories of heroes destined for greatness.
While the trope confirms the idea that anyone can become great, since it inspires ordinary people and gives them hope that great things can happen for them as well. The added aspect of fate likely feels comforting for audiences who look for control or destiny within their own lives.
The origins of the Chosen One trope is present in ancient myths and legends from cultures around the world. In Greek mythology, Achilles, the greatest warrior of the Trojan War, was destined for greatness as the son of the sea nymph Thetis. In Hindu mythology, Lord Rama was divinely chosen to defeat the demon king Ravana and restore dharma. Similarly, the biblical figure Moses was chosen by God to lead the Israelites to freedom from slavery in Egypt. These narratives often revolve around a central character who is divinely or supernaturally chosen to play a pivotal role in shaping the world.
The Beats of the Chosen One Trope
The Chosen One trope typically follows a set of beats that make the hero’s journey so compelling:
The Call to Adventure
The protagonist receives a mysterious call or sign, propelling them towards their destiny.
For example, in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis, the Pevensie children stumble upon the magical land of Narnia through a wardrobe, setting them on their heroic path.
Initially, the Chosen One may be hesitant to embrace their role, fearing the weight of responsibility.
In “The Matrix,” Neo is reluctant to accept that he is the One who can save humanity from the Matrix’s control.
A wise mentor often guides the protagonist, providing essential guidance and training.
In “Star Wars,” Luke Skywalker is mentored by Obi-Wan Kenobi and later by Yoda to become a Jedi.
Trials and Challenges
The Chosen One faces numerous trials and battles, both external and internal.
In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series, Harry faces challenges, including defeating dark forces and dealing with his own identity as the Boy Who Lived.
Along the way, the protagonist uncovers the true nature of their destiny and powers.
Frodo Baggins in “The Lord of the Rings” discovers the burden of carrying the One Ring and its role in saving Middle-earth.
The Climactic Battle
The Chosen One confronts the ultimate antagonist or obstacle in a climactic showdown.
In “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen faces President Snow and the Capitol in a battle for freedom.
Victory and Transformation
The hero emerges triumphant, having grown and evolved through their journey.
In “The Chronicles of Narnia,” the Pevensie children return as kings and queens of Narnia, transformed by their adventures.
The Chosen One Trope Examples
- “Harry Potter” Series by J.K. Rowling: The iconic tale of Harry Potter, a young wizard chosen to confront the dark wizard Voldemort and fulfill his destiny as the Boy Who Lived.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy Summers is the “Chosen One” who must defend Sunnydale from vampires, demons and those regular monsters called high schoolers…but she wasn’t the first.
- “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien: Frodo Baggins, the humble hobbit, is chosen to carry the One Ring to Mount Doom to save Middle-earth from Sauron’s tyranny.
- “Star Wars” Saga: Anakin Skywalker and later Luke Skywalker are chosen to bring balance to the Force and confront the Sith.
- “The Matrix” Trilogy by The Wachowskis: Neo is the prophesied One who can save humanity from the virtual world of the Matrix.
Genres that Embrace the Chosen One Trope
This trope is prevalent in fantasy, science fiction, and adventure genres. These genres offer fertile ground for exploring the hero’s journey, epic quests, and supernatural elements. However, the trope has also successfully transcended into other genres, like dystopian fiction and superhero stories.
This beloved trope provides readers and audiences with a captivating and emotionally resonant narrative. It delves into themes of destiny, sacrifice, and the struggle between good and evil. The character’s journey from ordinary to extraordinary creates a sense of hope and inspiration. As they represent the potential for greatness within each of us.
Finally, The Chosen One trope has left an indelible mark on storytelling, captivating audiences with its timeless appeal and themes of heroism and destiny. The journey of the Chosen One continues to ignite our imaginations and remind us of the extraordinary potential that lies within ordinary individuals.
Its criticism stems from the trope’s most notable elements. First, it invokes destiny, which is counter to free will and lessens the impact ones actions have. And second, someone just comes along and there’s something special about them that makes them different because of some prophecy made long before they were born.