Two loves (well, three if you count chocolate chip cookies and four if you count my family … but I digress): books. And movies. Can I say that here? But not any kind of movie. EPIC movies. Which often come from EPIC books. Or cases where they should have made an EPIC movie from the EPIC book. This journey
has been called a basis for all things EPIC
. In some ways I follow those guidelines in determining what is EPIC. Other times? It’s just me.
In No Particular Order Because I Love All of Them and Boy Is This a Random List
* Harry Potter.
Not to be too fangirl but Harry Potter! Because of course … he follows the classic road. He comes from humble beginnings and is unsure when he is first called. He faces challenges and temptations with his friends and a wiser, older mentor. He sacrifices everything (OH! Hopefully that is not a spoiler for anyone?) in order to achieve redemption. Plus he has Hedwig. Can an owl count as a mythical creature? I love owls. They are EPIC.
*Frodo and Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Remember this quote? “It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were…. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frod, I do understand… There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and its worth fighting for” (from Tolkien’s The Two Towers). LOVE IT. Most definitely EPIC. Is that not why we read? And to your writers out there … thank you. For sharing those stories with us.
Started as a short film. Then became an app. Is now a book! I argue that he is an epic hero. He rises from a place left in shambles and is called when he finds the books. They are his helpers and mentors as he shares his love of stories with anyone who will listen. This is a wonderful story that we can share for years to come. EPIC.
*Liam from Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic.
Not everyone may agree with me on this but Liam … he is an everyman hero (Dear English Professors From College, It’s been a while, I know. Did I just make that up?). He finds himself in incredible situations and manges to get himself out of them. Also he makes me LAUGH. Cases in point? “I said cockadoodle doo. I don’t usually.” “OK. You lot are my mission.” Space suits that made everyone look like “criminal tangerines.” Oh and he does lead a group out from oppression. Just see what happens when he starts at a new school and is mistaken for a teacher. EPIC.
*Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.
No, there are no mystical powers here so it doesn’t exactly fit the definition of EPIC. Except in my book. Come on, anyone who can keep such a great attitude in the face of a family who thinks she should act in a manner more befitting a “lady”? That was her battle. And her Grandfather was, while by no means perfect, a loving and wise mentor. The book does have an EPIC first line. Some of you will know what this really means. “By 1899, we had learned to tame the darkness but not the Texas heat.”
*Olive from The Books of Elsewhere by Jacqueline West.
I will be honest … this one took me a while to really get “in” to. But I’m so glad I finally did. Olive is most definitely a reluctant heroine facing supernatural beings with the help of mystical creatures. Slightly spooky but not really. Still waiting for book number three. How EPIC would it be to be able to enter a world through a painting?
*Benny Imura from Jonathan Maberry’s series.
(Fair warning … this is for the YA readers among us. NOT my current students!) It sounds so ridiculous but this is The Most Human of all zombie stories I’ve ever read (not that I’ve read anything close to all of them nor am I even a horror genre fan … this is NOT the author’s usual horror). Benny and his brother are called to dispatch zombies … sent by loved ones to save them from the neverending walk of the undead. UGH that sounds gross. But it is SO good! There are mentors and challenges and transformation. EPIC.
*Kira from Dan Well’s Partials.
I will be the first to say that the actual execution of the story is not necessarily EPIC. I would have done some of the editing differently. That put aside? Kira is a heroine to be reckoned with. The world seems to have ended (no babies survive long after birth) and all are asked to do more than their fair share. She rises above with the help of friends and … others. I will definitely be back for more of this EPIC story!
*(Gonna have to give a shout out here to my students.) PETE THE CAT (Eric Litwin) is an EPIC hero.
He faces all sorts of challenges and while he does not have any extraordinary assistance … he still succeeds. IT’S ALL GOOD. They tell me. And really … is that not what a hero is all about? Facing trials and new situations without getting upset?
*Otto Malpense from Mark Walden’s H.I.V.E. series.
Don’t let the Higher Institute of Villanous Education fool you. This is an hero who must defend against dark forces at every turn. He has friends. Mentors. Enemies. Cool spy gadgets. Even a little bit of magic. Go. Read. Run that EPIC movie camera in your head!
Angie Oliverson, known to her students as Ms. O, is a teacher librarian in San Antonio, TX. You can find her at www.msoreadsbooks.com as well as @senoritao.