5 Most Emotional Book Character Deaths

Simon (Lord of the Flies – William Golding)

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A book about how a group of young boys would cope on a deserted island without parental supervision, Golding’s classic delves into the innate evil that lurks in everyone’s soul. Without societal authority, in this case parents, the young boys slowly digress into animalistic creatures with no sense of morality. The only characters who don’t allow themselves to become savages are Ralph, Piggy and Simon. It is the death of Simon which arguably begins all the children’s descent into savages as he is massacred by all the boys on the island who are too caught up in taking part in a tribal ‘hunt-dance’ to realise that the beast they are attacking is Simon. It is a tear-jerking moment as the only reason he got killed was for trying to tell the others that there is no beast. The only beast is savagery. In this sense, the ‘beast’ kills Simon before he can tell the others. As with all of the deaths in The Lord of the Flies, Simon’s death represents the loss of something, in his case it is truth, innocence, and common sense. His violent death is juxtaposed with the description of his body’s final resting place is depicted as beautiful; his body is gently picked up from the beach by the tide and calmly pulled out to sea with luminescent fish and plants lighting the area, adding to the horrific nature of the children actions compared to the nature of the island.

The Banderbear (Beyond the Deepwoods – Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell)

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While making his way through the Deepwoods, Twig, the protagonist, encountered the banderbear; (an enormous, hairy, tusked bear-like creature). Although fearsome in appearance, the banderbear was shy, timid and friendly; after Twig helped him with his toothache by pulling the rotten tooth out, the two became good friends and travelled through the Deepwoods together. However, the friendship was not to last when a group of wig-wigs (small, orange, fluffy creatures which act like piranhas) decided to hunt both Twig and the unnamed banderbear. Knowing that the wig-wigs would eventually catch up with them, the banderbear decided to lift Twig into a nearby tree to put him out of the wig-wig’s reach. In doing so, the wig-wigs were able to catch up with him and devour him in front of Twig. His last words were ‘T-wuh-g…Fr-uh-nz’. Perhaps not as emotional as it may sound, the book was advertised for 8 – 12 years and in such has always remained locked in my mind as one of the most traumatic deaths I have read.

Arran Harper (The Enemy – Charlie Higson)

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Set in a post-apocalyptic world where anyone over the age of 14 turn into cannibalistic zombies, it goes without saying that a lot of children die within the book. However, Arran’s death is the saddest and also the most surprising. Set out as the protagonist, it comes as a shock that he dies on the way to Buckingham Palace, early on in the book. He was the leader of the Waitrose survivors (children who have set up base inside a Waitrose) but early on gets bitten by a zombie that bared a striking resemblance to his mother at a swimming pool while serving as one of the scavenger party looking for food. However, the bite does not kill him but does begin to get infected, causing him to become ill and delirious. Nonetheless, the reader assumes that since he is the main character and it is still early in the book that he will survive or at least die near the end. His death comes when the children are ambushed by a group of zombies led by a smart zombie named St George at Camden. Having won the actual battle, the zombies retreat and Arran gives chase only to get shot with an arrow in the chest by another survivor; Sophie. In the confusion of the zombies running away in her direction, she mistook Arran as one. With such severe injuries, he dies there surrounded by the Waitrose crew, his last words are “I love you, Mom” reminding us that he was just a child.

The Unnamed Father (The Road – Cormac McCarthy)

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Another post-apocalyptic novel, The Road follows an unnamed father and his son on their journey to head south to survive the oncoming winter. With the constant threat of attack from cannibals, exposure, and starvation the father is constantly trying to prepare his son for the time when he will no longer be there to protect him. The father’s death comes after their journey to the sea where he has been shot with an arrow and realises that he will die soon. In an attempt to reassure his son the father tells the boy that he can continue to speak with him through prayer after he is gone. With the boy pleading for his father not to leave him, it is hard not to get a lump in your throat. Additionally, with the son unsure where to go now that his father has passed away, we feel a responsibility for this child to remain safe. That feeling is left shaken when a man who claims he has been tracking the pair convinces the boy that he is one of the “good guys” and takes him under his protection. With a sense of uncertainty as to whether the boy is safe, the reader feels powerless and even more depressed.

Brom Holcombsson (Eragon – Christopher Paolini)

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Ever since Eragon had to escape his home town of Carvahall with his dragon because the Evil lord Galbatorix felt threatened that he would overthrow him, Brom has been by his side, fighting and teaching him things such as the use of the magical powers bestowed upon a Dragon Rider and the art of swordsmanship, as well as teaching him how to read. When attempting to destroy the Ra’zac (an ancient race that feeds on humans as well as Galbatorix’s servants), the heroes are ambushed and attempt to escape. However, while escaping one of the Ra’zac threw a dagger at Eragon, but Brom moved into its path in order to save Eragon but leaves him mortally wounded. Before passing away, Brom confesses his past to Eragon claiming that he was once a dragon rider himself before his dragon was killed and he went into hiding as a storyteller in Carvahall. In order to give Brom a proper burial, Eragon created a tomb out of sandstone which Saphira turned to diamond with her magic in order to preserve his honour forever. Although sad, the death of Brom constantly hits home throughout the saga as more secrets that he kept are revealed such as Eragon’s parentage and the truth behind his sword Zar’roc.

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5 Most Emotional Video Game Character Deaths

Aerith Gainsborough (Final Fantasy VII)

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Originally released in 1997, she has one of the most recognised video game deaths of all time, showing just how emotional her demise truly is. She was a temporary playable character before leaving the party and later is found praying at an altar. However, the chance encounter is short lived as the moment she recognises Cloud Strife she is stabbed through the chest by the antagonist Sephiroth in front of their eyes. It is only revealed that she was killed because she was the only one to protect the planet from Sephiroth’s plan to use the ultimate destructive magic; Meteor. She succeeded in summoning the power of Holy just before her death. The scene is made more emotional when Cloud takes her body out into the lake in order to return her to the planet’s life force. In doing so, Aerith not only lives on through the planet ultimately enforcing the planet’s life stream against Sephiroth’s Meteor but also within our hearts as a purely beautiful tribute to her life.

Thane Krios (Mass Effect 2 & 3)

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If you kept him alive through Mass Effect 2’s Suicide Mission then his death is even more so emotional. Sure you knew he was dying from Kepral’s syndrome since the very beginning but that doesn’t soften the loss of the religious drell assassin. While helping fight off the Cerberus attack on the Citadel, Thane is stabbed through the stomach by Kai Leng, an assassin sent to kill the Salarian councillor. Due to complications concerning his illness though he is told that he will die soon. Shepard can visit him in the Hospital where he will be joined by Thane’s son Kolyat. In this scene Shepard can join in a prayer Kolyat and Thane are reciting, it is only afterwards that the prayer was intended for Shepard and not Thane. Despite his violent and immoral job, Thane asks for forgiveness for each kill showing a sense of mercy which makes his death perfect for his deeply spiritual character as he dies surrounded by his family and friends with few regrets. The truth that Thane accepts his death only adds to the effect his death has on the audience. So much so that you can’t help but feel that justice has been served when Shepard stabs Kai-Leng with the omni-blade stating “that was for Thane, you son of a bitch”.

Angus “Grim” Grimaldi (Tomb Raider)

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Grimaldi is the helmsman of the expedition ship Lara was part of, The Endurance before its ultimate destruction by the supernatural storm. Using the skills he learnt while living in Gorbals, he manages to escape the clutches of the Solarii Brotherhood and find Lara. However, just as he does, the brotherhood catch up with him and attempt to use him as a hostage to get Lara to surrender. A man unwilling to be used as a hostage he lunges himself off the edge, falling to his untimely death but taking a number of Solarii men with him. Although his death is sad what truly made his death so emotional for me was that I was certain that he would turn against me at some point. Instead though, he was genuinely one of the most selfless characters in the game; going as far as to sacrifice his own life in the chance that Lara will survive just for a tiny bit longer and free the rest of her crew.

Cortana (Halo 4)

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She has been by your side throughout the entire Master Chief franchise, the artificial intelligence has assisted you with your objectives from the beginning and there is nothing you wouldn’t do for her as evident when she begins to malfunction. With no way to fix her AI issues she sacrifices herself in order to save you from the Didact by fragmenting her various personalities and uploading them into its computer; basically tearing herself apart. Although she is an AI and can therefore be replaced with one exactly the same, she won’t be the same Cortana we know and love. What truly makes her sacrifice even more moving is how she uses the last of her energy to manifest as a solid hologram in order to say her final goodbye to Master Chief but also to actually physically touch him for the very first time. My only comfort is that although she hasn’t a blue, humanoid figure, I can always find Cortana on my Windows Phone.

Serah Farron (Final Fantasy 13-2)

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A victim of fate, Serah Farron was at the wrong place at the wrong time; finding a door that lead into the Bodhum Vestige she was chosen by the Pulse fal’Cie, Anima, to become a l’Cie (a person cursed to fulfil a focus or become a monster). As if this wasn’t cruel enough, Serah was later chosen by her sister Lightning to help save the world from being destroyed by a man named Caius Ballad. With the new and sudden ability to glimpse into the future and the fact that every time the timeline is changed, the resulting shock may kill her, Serah and her friend Noel Kreiss persevere and ultimately defeats Caius. However, by changing the present so extremely the future is changed dramatically resulting in Serah’s death. Her sacrifice hits home as she has been the protagonist throughout the game and, unlike other games that result in the protagonist’s death’ Serah’s death takes place after the final battle when everything seems to be fixed. Noel’s desperate yet futile attempts to prevent Serah from seeing the future thus stopping her from dying and the happy music that plays (Charice New World) adds to the emotional impact of her death with her final words ringing in our ears ‘It’s the end of our journey…Thank You’

Taking the Bull-y by the Horns: Tackling Abuse in School

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We have all been bullied in our lives, whether it has been through being teasing, abusive language or actual physical attacks. As much as we wish that the world has changed, it hasn’t much altered in relation to the school playground. Children are still being bullied today. But bullying doesn’t stop there. The name calling stops but the scars left by it can remain for years after; bullying from our past may even affect us today.

In secondary school I was bullied by a group who found it funny to spit on me which led me to gain an anxiety towards saliva; I found it difficult to use the same straw as anyone else when sharing a drink. It took approximately 5 years to overcome this. Another bully I suffered from was more the traditional verbally abusive one who, after school, began dating a close friend of mine. He has no recollection or is simply unapologetic as to what he did to me for 3 years of my life. My friend and him are now engaged with one another which unfortunately has made our friendship slowly dissipate as I don’t feel comfortable being around him. Despite the bullying I suffered from, I was lucky that I was never picked on for my sexuality which so many have been and still are; approximately 25% of lesbian, gay and bisexual students and university employees have been harassed due to their sexual orientation. It is no surprise then that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth have a higher rate of suicide attempts than to heterosexual youth with such famous cases being of Jamey Rodemeyer and Jadin Bell and the creation of the It Gets Better Foundation. However, it is not just gay teens that have been bullied to the extent that they feel their only way out is to commit suicide for example Megan Meier and Amanda Toddboth took their own lives due to the amount of bullying they were subjected to online.

With almost 45,000 children talking to ChildLine about bullying last year and the fact that many children tend to suffer in silence, bullying in schools is a serious issue. It has only gotten worse since the introduction of anonymous messaging on internet sites such as ask.fm. Bullying is not just seen in the playground but on our phones and computers; there is little escape from the harassment. Figures claim that online bullying has risen by a startling 87 per cent in 2012 so it is essential that children know that they are never alone. Bullying may never cease to exist as it is only natural for humanity to set up a social hierarchy whereby those who bully others are top of the pyramid similar to the ideology behind Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Our culture is obsessed with power over others and violence is a primitive response to achieve it. Our only chance to stay strong, find ways to reduce the impact it has on us, remember that all of us have dealt with our own bullies and rejoice in the fact that we have overcome the ordeals they put through. And if we haven’t yet?  Promise ourselves we will be more successful in life than they will be and forgive them. The world already has too much hate in it to hold a grudge.

(Be aware that there are scenes of self-harm some people may find disturbing near the end)

Insert Part A into Slot B – A Queer Misconception

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A recent interview I read with Russell T. Davies discussing his new drama Cucumber made me realise the assumption that society holds over homosexual relationships; that of anal sex. Anal sex is difficult to discuss without people concerning themselves over it being too graphic or unprofessional. This is mainly to the fact that it is a taboo when in fact discussing it should be just as acceptable as ‘normal’ sex is; if not more important due to this stigma.

Anal sex is usually linked to male homosexuality and gay men are thought to come in two categories; those who are the ‘bottom’ and those who are the ‘top’. This is a lie. Not all gay men actually engage in anal at all, in fact approximately only 36% of men report receiving anal sex and 34% report giving it. It is a choice and studies have suggested that the gay men that do, do not engage in it on a regular basis. Unfortunately this fact is mostly obscured from the general public as to be able to differentiate between the heterosexual ‘Us’ and homosexual ‘Them’ leading many gay men to feel pressured into engaging with anal sex when they may not have done so without societal influence. In this sense gay men may feel coerced into pushing the boundaries as to what they themselves feel comfortable with.

Additionally, the dreaded question all gay men have come to accept; ‘Are you a top or bottom?’ not only suggests that all gay couples participate in anal sex but also furthers that assumption. Especially when many gay sexual relationships do not keep to designated ‘roles’. It is simply tactless to ask such a question; the equal question to a straight couple would be asking what positions they adopt in bed. Not only is it crude but is also tactless to ask such a personal question when first meeting someone. It is as if homosexual men should be comfortable to discuss their sex life with a complete stranger because, once again, the cultural stereotype of a gay man show them to be promiscuous animals who can only talk about sex. This is complete nonsense of course because if all they did talk about was sex then the stigma of gay sex would be non-existent. The question is the catch-22 of the Gay man’s world; straight people want to know about their position in bed but are disgusted to be given more detail than that.

The actual truth is that anal sex is not a gay thing at all; it is true that more gay men do have more of it than straight couples on average but, according to a report in America, 44% of straight men and 36% of straight women admitted to having tried it at least once in their lives. Anal sex is merely a sexual act which came to be associated with the homosexual lifestyle and just like some heterosexual couples do not enjoy the idea of it, the same can be said for gay men.

It is a fact that some people find the thought of two men engaging in anal sex disgusting and so it is possible to see why today the act is still rarely discussed despite the increase in straight couples trying it. Yet, it is essential that the taboo on ‘gay sex’ be lifted. The most dangerous thing about sexual activity is being unprepared and unaware of the risks, thus with no one discussing anal sex puts not only gay men but straight women at risk too.

Fall of the House of Blusher – The Truth Behind Wearing Make-Up

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Foundation, lipstick, eye liner, mascara; the products found in any make-up bag. The question is why? Why are they essentials? We all know of one Oompa-Loompa lookalike who went a little over the top with the bronzer in high school so we already know that too much is just as bad as too little but in reality is there such a thing as too little?

Women are constantly bombarded by adverts, models, newspapers and all other media platforms that they must always wear make-up when leaving the house. Even business women are portrayed as wearing lipstick and mascara implying that make-up leads to success. I can officially say that if an employer is more interested in the products meticulously applied to one’s face then I would not want to work for them. The conformity to what is seen as beautiful should not be what people are hired for because no matter what way you look at it, women would still be objectified by it.

Of course it isn’t a matter of equality exactly. There are products for men such as manscara and guyliner on the market but obviously men who do use them are a minority and therefore are not goaded to do so by society. In fact, we are seeing the need for make-up backwards and inside out. Why should women (and men) wear make-up at all? It is fitting to call one such make-up product ‘concealer’ because it does just that; conceals real beauty. Beauty is down to the imperfections that we all have. Just like the flaws within a snowflake makes it beautiful, the uniqueness of our bodies is what truly makes us attractive.

My good friend Bry once told me that the key to make-up is to wear it without anyone knowing so obviously some feel that make-up gives them confidence or makes them feel good which is a valid point however we must remember that true beauty lies underneath. We shouldn’t rely entirely on cosmetics to define who we are. If we create a society that puts more importance on façades created by the application of foundation and lip gloss where would that leave us? Who would be running our country? (Null and void question – all politicians rely on façades). The truth is we must be sure not to objectify ourselves just to feel normal because as much as we all deny it to each other none of us are in fact normal.

It is time we stop forcing our ideals of beauty on each other, cliché as it may sound, we should be accepting everyone as they are; be it in what they wear, their sexuality or, indeed, what they look like without make-up. It should be up to all of us to decide what empowers us, not those around us. After all pretty is as pretty does.

5 Most Underrated Marvel Characters of all Time

Squid-Boy (Sammy Paré) 

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A mutant who had the ability to speak and breathe underwater and the unfortunate appearance of a fish, Squid-Boy may not have had the most exciting mutant powers. However, what he lacked in powers he made up with his unquestioning belief that people can change as evidenced by his trust towards Juggernaut (Cain Marko). Squid-Boy arguably was the driving force behind Juggernaut’s sense of conscience and reformation after saving him from drowning and becoming friends. It was this friendship which led Marko to remain with the X-Men.

Squid-Boy only appeared in the X-Men from 2002 to 2004 due to his untimely death by the hands of Black Tom (Tom Cassidy), and the guilt Juggernaut feels for unwittingly leading him to his death is arguably one of the factors as to his decision to join the Thunderbolts.

However, what truly makes his death so saddening was that Sammy Paré died unaware that Juggernaut had neither betrayed him nor the X-men but was in fact tricking Black Tom. Squid-Boy dies hating Juggernaut for something he had not done.

Bova Ayrshire

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Known as the Old Woman on the Hill, Bova is actually a genetically evolved Guernsey cow who is simply a nanny to the High Evolutionary (Herbert Edgar Wyndham) and his ‘New Men’ – other genetically evolved animals Wyndham has created. Originally situated on Wundagore Mountain, Bova helped a sanctuary seeker named Magda give birth to twins before the mother continued up the mountain and perished from the extreme weather. The twins were the mutants Quiksilver (Pietro Maximoff) and Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff). Trying to give the twins a normal life, she unsuccessfully attempted to give the children to Whizzer (Robert Frank) after his wife (Miss America) passes away giving birth (another woman that Bova was midwife for). Therefore Bova fosters the twins as her own until she is able to find a suitable foster family such as the Gypsy couple named Django and Marya Maximoff. Bova once again became a foster mother when Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) woke up on Wundagore with no memory of her past, looking after her until Hydra rescued her from a fleeing mob and brainwashed her into the Hydra agent Arachne.

Bova can be seen as a character that is neither good nor bad; she is simply a midwife and foster mother that looked after a number of future superheroes. She can be seen as a vital character to a number of Marvel heroes but is barely known because she doesn’t regularly appear in the Marvel world. Nonetheless, she is the key to a number of Marvel’s family connections, most significantly Quiksilver and Scarlet Witch’s father.

The Ghost

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A man who uses his ‘ghost-tech’ to turn himself and others he touches invisible or intangible, very little else is known about Ghost including his actual name as well as his true origin. Ghost claims that his boss’ capitalist greed led him to wearing the ‘ghost-tech’ when they killed his girlfriend (who he later found out was hired by the company to keep him working on new technology they could sell for their own profit). However, what makes the Ghost so dangerous is that his anti-Capitalist views added to his knack for computer science and his ghost-tech makes him the ultimate saboteur. He can easily enter high security areas and hack their computers to either gain its information or destroy it. Places such as the Pentagon would be vulnerable to attack as well as the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier (if not for its ability to fly). Additionally, he makes a threatening hit-man for the same reasons which is why so many shady businesses have hired him for corporate jobs (only to discover that their own corporation would be next).                 

In a country that is the epitome of capitalism, the Ghost is an intimidating enemy who is able to escape arrest time and time again. With very little way to defend against him, it is fortunate that the Ghost seems obsessed with Tony Stark (Iron Man), the one man who can protect against his attacks.

Doop

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The product of a Cold War era U.S. military experiment, Doop is the camera man for the celebrity mutant super team X-Statix. Despite this, he should not be underrated. Doop has the ability to access a nightmare dimension named ‘Doop-Land’ that exists insides himself as well as an untested level of energy projection that can prevent psychic attacks. Additionally, Doop has regenerative powers as well as several other abilities connected to time and space distortion. Although an ally to the X-Men (protecting students at the Jean Grey institute for higher learning) Doop is rather violent character showing no remorse or mercy in killing others as shown in the torture he puts Corkscrew (a mutant driven insane by his power) through before killing him with an axe while smiling. What also makes Doop underrated is the fact that he can hold his own against one of the Avengers’ powerhouses; Thor (Thor Odinson).

It is too easy to see the ‘Slimer-like’ appearance of Doop and assume from his appearance he is simply there to add comical effect but in truth he is more dangerous than most of his associates. An anti-hero in short, he has also been responsible in exposing scandals such as El Guapo’s (Robert Rodriguez) threesome with two models that led to his girlfriend leaving him and his sentient skateboard violently attacking him. It is evident that Doop should not be underrated as to how much damage or good he can ultimately do especially in connection with the amount of power he possesses.

Korvac (Michael Korvac)

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Originally a computer technician that welcomed the hostile invasion of the Badoon on Earth on a parallel universe (Earth-691), Korvac was ‘improved’ by the aliens and made into a cyborg to be a more efficient worker which led him to revolt. After a number of battles with various superheroes, Korvac found himself able to use his cyborg abilities to download Galactus’ central computer information evolving him into a God-like being. Using the Power Cosmic for himself, he gained the potential to wield almost infinite power. He could resuscitate life, time travel, disintegrate foes absorb power from any force and use a variety of mental powers. These skills ultimately made Korvac invincible and invisible to any scans. He was so powerful that the Avengers could not defeat him and most of them perished in the battle until he realised that his wife (Carina) began to doubt him. Korvac decided to commit suicide as he had done everything for Carina and resurrected all the Avengers that had died in the battle. Cheesy as it is, it proves love conquers all.

Despite holding ultimate power and doing the impossible; defeating all the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Korvac is almost forgotten today. In part this is due to the fact that Korvac was not evil but truly thought his powers could help mankind and was thought to be noble by Moondragon (Heather Douglas). However, if in some way he was resurrected and continued with his plan to conquer Earth, the Avengers would in fact find him a deadly nemesis.

“Not all Heroes Wear Masks” – The Kind of Hero We Should be Inspired by

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Since I am a self-professed and proud nerd, a question I am asked as a conversation starter on a regular basis is ‘Who’s your favourite superhero?’ Of course, I am a Batman fanatic so I reply with such and begin discussing in detail several reasons as to why until their eyes glaze over. It becomes evident they have no idea what I am talking about anymore (because their only knowledge of Batman is from seeing the 1992 animated series as a kid or through the mental scars left from Clooney’s nipple defining Batsuit in 1997). Of course, those eyes that were fully glazed suddenly widen to full panic when I ask the same question back to them and they quickly change the topic.

I must make clear that I am not complaining that they avoid the question though as it was originally an attempt to make small talk with me and so I am thankful for them taking an interest. I am certain many people are not interested in comic books or superheroes just as I am not interested in football. So I understand the limits one can have on topics that do not interest us for example I know little about the current football players and managers (the last manager of Man United I recall was Alex Ferguson – which I can now claim, after googling, there have been 3 since then).  What I have come to realise though is that the question we should be asking each other is not ‘who is your favourite superhero?’ but ‘who is your hero?’. Not celebrity wise but on a much personal scale. After all, we are all heroes in our own way.

You dear reader may not realise this but someone may consider you an inspiration. I for one did not believe I could be until one day recently, as I slowly fell asleep, I came to realise the number of times people have told me how motivated they were by actions I took. For example, after coming out of the closet, one of my best friends decided to tell our group that he was a furry (one that is interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters and is wrongly thought by others to enjoy ‘furry sex’). He told me that my coming out had inspired him to trust us all as I did with him. Of course at the time I felt complimented but only now do I see the significance I was part of in helping my friend be proud and honest to whom he is.

Of course I am also inspired by those around me too. My 6th form tutor truly inspired me to be who I am without trying to, by simply being herself it inspired me to want to live a life like hers; a life with no limits. My partner obviously inspires me (cue a sickeningly sweet ‘aww’), he inspires me to try new things and once in a while leave my comfort zone. One such moment I recall it happening was when I rode ‘The Smiler’ (the world’s record holding rollercoaster with the most inversions) at Alton Towers which I must admit was no easy feat for a lily-livered man such as I. There are others also, family members, friends, teachers, even people I have only met once through chance encounters.

I ask you reader, to think hard and think about who your hero is? Who has encouraged you to be the best you can be? Made you do things you never would have done by yourself and made you so glad they encouraged you to do so? For me that would be much more of an ice breaker than any superhero could be.

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