Five Reasons Fantasy Heroes Shouldn’t Be Happy

dragon family

  1. Happy is boring. Characters should be driven by obsession, guilt, an unreachable dream, the desire to survive. A quest for happiness? Well, that could work. But already happy? I don’t think so.
  2. No one facing a dragon/death eater/gremlin/sith/necromancer feels like smiling.
  3. Fantasy heroes are always trying to find something. A holy grail. The sorceror’s stone. A tesseract. Do you feel cheerful when you’re trying to track something down? No. Most likely you’re shouting and tearing the house apart.
  4. Fantasy characters usually end up sleeping on rocks or trying to survive on stewed mushrooms even while healing from frightful injuries. Empty tummies, pain and lack of sleep are just not a good recipe for a pleasant mood.
  5. Even worse, their skills are often not up to snuff. Their wands break. They’re not strong enough to resist the lure of the ring. They aren’t as beautiful or smart or talented as their parents or siblings or classmates. Wouldn’t they be a lot happier if they didn’t have to deal with being imperfect?

But somehow, despite this, our favorite characters manage to find happiness. Maybe it’s because they get to mess around with magic. Or because they befriend fantastic creatures and ride dragons and hippogriffs. Or maybe it’s their determination—their unwillingness to give up their quest, their hope, and their beliefs—that brings happiness in the long run. Because, after all, why should anyone let a dragon stand in the way of true joy? What fantasy characters inspire you and why?