1. Rachel Nichols says:

    Frodo Baggins would definitely be a reluctant enlistee.

    Not your typical hero.

  2. notleia says:

    Actually I somewhat disagree about Captain America. He’s still highly empathetic, but he’s more of a risk-taker than otherwise. Even when he was skinny, tiny Steve, he still picked fights he knew he would lose to defend other people rather than, like, call the cops or talk it down or something less risky. And defying governmental authority and the Slovenia accords is pretty darn risky.

    I’m curious if risk-taking and empathy don’t occur together as much as (your summary of that) study implies. Do we have Soras who are empathetic risk takers (optional: critical-thinking skills of a bag of wet yarn), or is real life split between vainglorious douches and good but uninspiring eggs?

    PS: This is also why I don’t think soldiers or cops deserve an automatic respectability card. They’re not good people just because they’re soldiers or cops, like that Coast Guard guy who was making plans for a mass shooting. Or the large, nonzero number of cops who are white supremacists.

    • My rule for people is that I give all of them at least a teeny tiny drop of love and respect, but I also am not willing to let them hurt me. Like, I have boundaries, don’t trust anyone entirely and take everything they say with a grain of salt. Most people don’t like it, but it’s better than frolicking through life getting hurt because I was trying too hard to make them feel trusted.

      • notleia says:

        I wish that attitude wasn’t as unusual as you make it sound. But authoritarian culture doesn’t believe in boundaries, and authoritarian culture isn’t as dead as I’d like it to be.

        • Well, I know people don’t understand boundaries and violate them a lot. That’s precisely why I talk about enforcing boundaries in the first place (and mention that people hate it when I do.)

    • Travis Perry says:

      I think the Captain America movie shows Steve Rodgers fighting out of principle rather than for the thrill of it.

      But yeah, it’s certainly possible to combine risk-seeking and selfless empathy, at least I think so. I could perhaps be a little like that myself.

  3. Well, there would probably be the chars that were sort of born into combat, like a lot of Naruto chars. Not all of those chars were reluctant about fighting, because to some learning to be a ninja was just the natural course of their life. Shikamaru, for example, was super lazy and chose to be a ninja partly because his father was a ninja and it was probably just the normal course, but partly also because it seemed like the easiest option for him to make money. But, as time goes on, he grows closer to his teammates and becomes passionate about protecting Konoha, especially after certain events in his life (like losing his sensei).

    Chars like Kiritsugu are kind of a blend of both heroes you mentioned. His childhood dream was to be a hero of some sort. But, he was still a happy, carefree kid and didn’t seem to be anywhere near jumping into a battlefield until his entire town perished. After that, he apprenticed himself to an assassin partly because he was an orphan, and partly because he saw it as an opportunity to be strong and prevent further tragedies in the world. After that…he remains an assassin for a mix of reasons. He hates the atrocities he commits, but sees it as his only way to help people at the time. It’s also the main thing he’s good at, so it probably felt only natural for him to continue on that course.

    Something seen a lot, especially in anime, are chars that endure something horrible and thus choose to enter combat to deal with it. They weren’t an eager enlistee from the standpoint that they didn’t ask for horrific circumstances to push them toward fighting. But, they are eager from the standpoint that they choose to fight to get revenge, fulfill their personal morals, reobtain something they lost, etc. Often enough, their heroism might be unintentional along the way. Like, they might end up with a close friend and look out for that person throughout the story.

  4. Old Coot says:

    One aspect of heroism which fascinates me is how, among military veterans as well as the ‘everyday’ heroes such as police, fire, emergency responders, and the like, is that when asked about their ‘heroic’ deeds, they so often respond with “I didn’t do anything special, just what needed to be done” (or similar words).

  5. Leanna says:

    What about heroic actions outside of war?

  6. Jes Drew says:

    I think another way to look at ‘risk-taker’ Tony and ‘reluctant recruit’ Cap is that Cap does what is good for the sake of good- no matter what; his story arc is learning just how high a cost ‘no matter what’ is- but sticks to it. Tony does what is good at first for the risk- and becomes good doing it; his story arc is learning to do good even as he starts to hate the risks.

    Team Cap all the way, though.

What do you think?