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Kelly J. Cooper

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Heroes in Obscurity [Oct. 1st, 2008|03:26 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Here's an interesting question (ganked from something laurenpburka is working on):

Can you think of characters who fall into the motif of having special abilities or destinies, who grow up hidden with 'normal people' other than:
  • Wart (King Arthur) in The Once and Future King
  • Harry Potter
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Superman
  • Captain Carrot of the Discworld books
  • Moses, Jesus, and Joseph (the one with the fancy coat)
  • Thorn from Jeff Smith's Bone comic book series
  • Tolkien's Aragorn
  • Oedipus
  • Finn MacCool
  • Arthur Penhaligon from Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom series
  • Lirael in Lirael and Abhorsen, also by Nix
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (although possibly more lost than hidden)
  • Hellboy... kinda
  • Arren, Prince of Enlad, from LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy

For the purposes of the question, it's irrelevant whether they are characters who achieve great things, come into strange powers, achieve fantastic goals, etc. The important elements are that they are raised hidden - someone has foreknowledge - and have great powers/great destinies (although whether they know about their powers/destinies doesn't matter).

Hmm. As I think on that, it eliminates
  • Morgon in Patricia A. McKillip's The Riddle-master of Hed
  • Terisa in Stephen R. Donaldson's The Mirror of Her Dreams and A Man Rides Through
...as neither is exactly hidden. I don't recall there being sufficient foreknowledge in the plot to qualify. Might also disqualify Arren - I don't remember the book well enough.

[User Picture]From: sbisson
2008-10-01 03:50 am (UTC)
Well, there's Garrion from the Belgariad, and Miriam in Stross' Merchant Princes series.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-10-01 03:56 am (UTC)
Ah, I'd forgotten about Garrion, thank you.

Haven't read the Merchant Princes series... recommended?
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[User Picture]From: whitebird
2008-10-02 12:30 am (UTC)
The Merchant Princes series is very spiffy indeed. He does fantasy at least as well as he does science fiction.
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[User Picture]From: foomf
2008-10-01 04:22 am (UTC)
Christopher Chant, initially, in the Chrestomanci stories.
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[User Picture]From: infinitehotel
2008-10-01 07:23 am (UTC)
Dexter, from the Showtime series (Serial killer whose police officer father raises him in secret to kill criminals)

Playing with the convention a little, Adam Young from Good Omens. Both Heaven and Hell think they're raising him in secret, and they sort of are; they just don't know where he is.


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[User Picture]From: infinitehotel
2008-10-01 08:11 am (UTC)
Whoops, sorry. Missed that you already had that last.
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[User Picture]From: theryk
2008-10-01 10:49 am (UTC)
I agree with all three.
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[User Picture]From: bryantpaul
2008-10-01 08:06 am (UTC)
Taran from Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain
Reason from Justine Larbalestier's Magic of Madness books
Kaye from Holly Black's book Tithe
Emily from Kazu Kibuishi Amulet
Vin from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn books

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[User Picture]From: robotech_master
2008-10-01 10:21 am (UTC)
Aw man, I was gonna get Vin. :P
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[User Picture]From: sandhawke
2008-10-01 08:16 am (UTC)
Lyra, in His Dark Materials trilogy by Pullman (or The Golden Compass movie).

I'm not quite getting the "someone has foreknowledge" bit of your test. You're saying it has to be a world with prophesies which are take seriously? I don't see that for Superman -- where's the prophesy there? Is it there for Moses, Jesus, and Joseph? (I don't know those stories very well.)

Does this story-template have a name?
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[User Picture]From: metagnat
2008-10-01 09:17 am (UTC)
Hm...What about Matilda in the Roald Dahl book of the same name? I don't know if it counts, because of the foreknowledge thing.

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[User Picture]From: madbodger
2008-10-01 09:47 am (UTC)
Sookey Stackhouse from True Blood.

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From: selkiechick
2008-10-01 10:26 am (UTC)
Polly, from Polly and the Pirates.
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[User Picture]From: librarybrandy
2008-10-01 10:43 am (UTC)
Percy Jackson, in the series by Rick Riordan. (Percy's the son of a Greek God, which explains the weird things that happen to him at school; he gets sent to a special camp for "his kind" where he meets his two best friends, brainy Annabeth and satyr Grover, in the Harry-Potteriest series since Harry Potter. Recommended? not really.)
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[User Picture]From: theryk
2008-10-01 10:48 am (UTC)
Dumbo (from the movie "Dumbo" and not the controversial sequel "Dumbo Does Dallas"...
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