Tuesday, September 16, 2014

What I Have Learned from Bratty Protagonists

*nut-shelled...Don't be the brat in your own story.

My least favorite Harry Potter book is the Order of the Phoenix (#5). Professor Umbridge is horrid, and Harry is a brat. I know, I know...it is because Lord Voldemort is infiltrating his mind a bit, but still... Harry doesn't understand why he isn't a prefect. He sulks. He's a brat.

I think JK Rowling set out to make Harry not very likable in #5, and she succeeded very well.

I greatly dislike when protagonists become rather bratty. It's like they start to drink their own Kool-aid and it just isn't pretty.

Harry is a whole lot less odious in books 6 or 7. He is more pleasant to be around. A lot nicer to his friends.

It was the same storyline in How to Train Your Dragon-the movies, not the book. Hiccup is a lovable blunderer in the first movie. He saves the day and saves the dragon and everything is great.

In the second movie he has a more bratty aura. He doesn't want to be chief. He wants to be with his dragon, exploring. He ends up endangering his whole tribe. And then saving them-once he accepts who he is and the responsibilities laid on him.

I find that very interesting.

In our culture we are encouraged to follow our dreams. To know ourselves and our personality type. Yet, even Hollywood acknowledges the fact that life doesn't work properly when all we focus on is our dreams and ourselves.

See, when all we are focusing on is ourselves, the effect is rather bratty. And who likes a brat?

Neither dreams or self-knowledge should trump the fulfillment of our responsibilities and commitments.

But, neither can either replace the other. Both are necessary to live full lives. Dreams and responsibilities. Self-awareness and selflessness. Risk and commitment.

It is a balancing act that on occasion seems more like a high rope circus act. It is an acknowledgement of life seasons. It is a never ending process of weighing and evaluating, counting the cost and adjusting. And it is an acknowledgement of the intrinsic idea that there is a time for everything.

For training your dragon and ruling your tribe. For starting businesses and doing laundry and raising kids.

How are you learning to balance dreams and responsibilities?