09 October 2012

Tuesday Coffee Chat - Holding Out for a Hero

I'm glad to be back on another Tuesday to join Les for her weekly Coffee Chat.  Last week (ok, Sunday), I talked about my favorite baddies.  Today, Les has asked us to talk about the ones that are there to stand between those baddies and the common man.  I'm talking about heroes.

Wayne said he had a hard time with the heroes because he pays more attention to the villains.  In the interest of time, Les kept her heroes to movie heroes.  I suspect she'd end up with the same forever list as I'd have.  Judy talked about an actor that she sees as a hero.  And Brenda talked about her real life heroes.  

What am I going to talk about?  How about one from comics, one from books, one from the small screen, one from the big screen and one from my life?  Ready?  Let's go!

The first hero should come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog with any regularity.  And here he is:

That's right.  The one, and only, Green Arrow.  He's the first archer that stole my heart (though I've given a little room over for Hawkeye in later years).  He's a hero without super powers, one who turned his life around because he had to and stuck with it, even when things got better.  Like me, he's a flaming liberal, out to fight for every man and ready to put the fat cats that take advantage of their position where they belong.  He's not afraid to say what he thinks, to stand up for what he feels is right.  He's had moments where he's crossed the line (particularly in the Cry for Justice storyline where he gets into the revenge business). Plus, he's hot as hell.

And yes, I'm anxiously awaiting his debut to the small screen tomorrow night with Arrow.  Here's a glimpse of the man in action:

Next up, from the small screen, should also come as no surprise to readers of this blog.  He's been around for almost 50 years, changing his face and personality every few years.  I can only be talking about

The Doctor!

There are so many reasons that I love the Doctor.  He tries to solve problems with his brain and, sometimes, trickery rather than using violence.  He travels everywhen and everywhere, finding such delight in the world around him and sharing it with companions that keep him company.  Over the years, he's been crotchety and child-like, pompous and kind, compassionate and hard as nails.  He's protected the Earth (and many other planets) time and time again.  He's far from perfect, not always finding the easiest or best solution because he's trying to be clever.  And sometimes he gets locked in anger - at a situation, at a villain (like the Daleks) - that he forgets his compassionate side.  And that's when his companions humanity is most needed.  The Doctor is someone I would travel with if that blue police box showed up in my front yard. Or living room. Anywhere near by, after all.  Because I know I would be in for a time filled with wonder, joy and even a little bit of danger for however long I traveled with him.  And if I was really lucky, I'd be able to get back to the time I left so I wouldn't miss any of the wonder that I have in my home on a daily basis.

Now, I'm on to my favorite movie hero.  Or rather, Heroine.

Danielle de Barbarac from Ever After.  This movie is one of my all-time favorites. It's a retelling of the Cinderella story where Cinderella doesn't need to wait for the prince to rescue her.  Danielle has such a strength of character, such a conviction to do what is right, that she is someone I want to be when I grow up.  Even when she's having to obey the commands of her horrid step-mother (played wonderfully by Anjelica Huston) and her step-sister Marguérite (played with cruel beauty by Megan Dodds), that strength still shows.  When a household servant is sold to pay off the Baroness' bad debt, Danielle dresses to the station that she should hold and pays him back.  When she sees someone stealing a horse from the family stables, she bursts into action by throwing apples at the thief (who, she soon learns, is actually the Prince).  She charms da Vinci with her heart, entrances the Prince with her fire, out clevers the gypsies when they think they've backed her into a corner, and shows the man that purchased her from her step-mother that she is no shrinking wallflower.  I absolutely love this character.  And if you haven't seen this movie, then you must.  Seriously.  Because it's so empowering.

Time to switch to books before I forget this post and put in Ever After.  This one is actually a bit harder for me, because there are so many fantastic heroes and heroines in the books that I read.  From Paige Winterborne in Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series to Harry Potter in the series of the same name, there are people that show the strength of character that I would love to have, that find their way out of difficult situations without using brawn, that I see as good examples of the person I want to be.  But finally, I've decided on a character that, in most cases, is a villainess. One of the biggest villainesses in the history of books. But Marion Zimmer Bradley took a look from this woman's point of view and told a story of a strong woman caught in a time of change, used by others, often without her knowledge, before becoming a strong woman in her own right.  The character is Morgaine (Morgan le Fey) and the book is The Mists of Avalon.

I was first introduced to this book by my friend, Rosie, when I was in middle school.  It was a book that gave both of us strength as we were growing into the women we wanted to be, that taught us that we didn't have to live the world that was placed in front of us but could go our own way.  Morgaine is a tragic character - used by both of her aunts in different ways, always longing for Lancelet and watching him pine away for Gwenhwyfar, being torn between the love for her brother and the love for Avalon.  But we also see her gain the strength to be the Priestess of Avalon, to try to force the world into the course she thinks is best.  We see her use her magics to harm, but also to protect.  We see her grow.  And as I read the book the first time, a part of me grew with her.

Now, before I pull out my copy of Mists of Avalon and turn on Ever After, I'm going to mention my last, best hero.

My husband, Rich.

There are so many reasons why he is a hero.  But here are a few:

  • He works not one, not two, but three jobs.  He's a biosafety officer as his main job, teaches at the University of Phoenix one or two nights a week for five week courses and tutors two or three nights a week.  This lets me be home with the boys, ensures that we don't need to put Pete in daycare and brings in more money than if I were working part or even full time.
  • He is the primary cook in our family.  He enjoys doing it and knows that I hate it.  So after working a full day, he'll often come home and cook something for us.  I know that I should step in and do it (and I'm trying to do so more often), but the fact that he's even willing to do so makes him a hero in my book.
  • He is an active father.  He talks to the boys about their day, plays games with them, reads them bedtime stories at night, teaching them when they want to learn, and tries to mold them into the kind of young men that both of us want them to be.
  • He has a large heart.  When we have a little extra cash, and even sometimes when we don't, he'll pass it along to a friend who is running through a rough patch.  Because for all that we're living hand to mouth, there are people that are doing worse than we are and he feels that if we can, we should help.
  • He supports me through my lowest lows, never letting me fall even when I'm trying to hurl myself down.  He holds me when I cry, makes sure I take my meds when I'm feeling down enough that I don't see the point, listens when I need to rant and rave, shares his own thoughts and feelings with me with an honestly that is sometimes difficult for people, and is, so often, my balance when it comes to dealing with the every day stresses.
  • He loves me.
My husband is my hero.  He's the man I want my boys to become, the man I want them to emulate and learn from.  He's the perfect man for me.  And I'm so lucky to have him.