Heroes Need Friends

Recently I listened to a podcast* where the guest speaker talked about characters. One thing the guest speaker said was that a hero** should not be a hero alone. Every hero needs others to help them do heroic stuff.

I’ve read stories or watched shows where the hero took on the villain alone with maybe a few bystanders thrown in for atmosphere. To me the story or show had action, but no character and certainly no dialogue except for the occasional one-liners or grunt. The hero had no personality.

I didn’t realize until the podcast about the importance of the hero to have others around to help. These people give the hero personality and depth of character. They make the hero stronger when he/she must rely on others to achieve their goal. The hero is even stronger when they ask for help.

The same can be true for the villain. The hero has more of a challenge when the villain has help.

These helpers are not subservient to the hero or villain (well, maybe the villain). Instead, they fill in for the flaws the hero or villain may have, giving the writer opportunities for a more developed hero or villain through added conflict.

A team who supports the hero in achieving the goal provides the writer with lots of material to make the story more meaningful. The team is what makes a “hero’s journey” type of story a better story. Aren’t we all better as a team?


* Sorry, I listen to several podcasts almost each day on my walk and I could not find which one this played on or who was the speaker. I should take better notes.

** I use “hero” in the generic sense that includes hero (male) and heroine (female) and herowhere (extraterrestrial).

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