Thursday, January 3, 2013

the case of the underdogs

I have started to read the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) books lately, thanks the movie The Hobbit, which stirred my interest in Middle Earth lore, and the never ending boredom of holidays. Yeah, I admit that I am sucker when it comes to fantasy worlds and epic battles. I'm still at the start of the Fellowship of the Ring though, but I've been very intrigued by the Hobbit race itself ever since I first came to know of the LOTR franchise, or more specifically, what's the big deal about them?


the hobbits, as portrayed in the film


Although Tolkien did give some positive attributes to the Hobbits, such as being nimble and good crafters for example, I'm sure almost everyone who have read or watched LOTR before would have at least at some point of time wondered why on Middle Earth would a Hobbit be chosen to bear the responsibility of saving the day. Why not the elegant elves, the hardy dwarves or the powerful wizards be tasked to destroy the ring?

Of course, there's an explanation of Hobbits being the least likely to be corrupted by the Ring but I'm sure the easier thing to notice here is that how the Hobbits, a race that is relatively unnoticed, is expected to rise up to the occasion against all odds and judgment of others to stop the evil or risk destruction of the entire world. Hobbits, who are so much shorter than almost everything else in Middle Earth. In any case, Hobbits would be considered the considered the underdog race if you were to pitch them against Elves, Men, Dwarves or even Orcs. I mean wouldn't it be so much more awesome if a handsome elf archer like Legolas be expected to carry the ring instead?

It's not only in the LOTR series that we have the case of the underdogs rising above all expectations and be the one that everybody depends on. In Kungfu Panda for example, only the fat and lazy panda could stop the rampaging evil on it's tracks when all his fellow friends fail. In Hitman Reborn, the protagonist is literally called useless Tsuna but despite that, he's the only one who can defeat the enemy time after time when his friends cannot.


the no good tsuna, aside from being socially awkward, he also sucks at sports and studying


At a glance, one would have no difficulty finding books, movies, stories or even songs that talk about the transformation of the underdog, how the ones that are least expected to succeed are the ones usually do. The media is littered with examples and stories that seems to tell us that it's okay if we start out at the bottom, that it's okay if we are not at the top because there might be hidden qualities inside us that we might not know about that will help us to succeed. Or that as long as we try hard enough, we can do it.

Although stories tend to be comforting in a way, in a sense that it offer us a sense of escapism by letting us live through the eyes of the hero, the sad fact is that works of fiction like these rarely translates into real life. I don't know about other people, but I often feel like the underdog in life more than I like, be in studying, blogging, popularity and a host of other fields in life. However, unlike fiction, there's no suddenly uncovering a secret ability or destiny that will forever change my life and turn me into some big shot or hero.

I guess everyone of us wants something like this. To be taken away from our daily life to a never ending adventure filled with excitement, a journey where we actually matters. Which is why stories of the underdog never fails to captivate the public. I, for example, keep hoping that one day something similar would happen to me. Where an opportunity of a lifetime appears suddenly in front of me, promising a happily ever after life.

But I know fully well that opportunities seldom drop from the sky in real life. In real life, unless you're born with a stroke of genius, recognition and success only comes with hard work, loads of it. And most of the time, even if you do try very hard, you'll only be able to move only a few steps forward rather than the leap in circumstances as normally portrayed in stories. To put it in LOTR words, you might change from being a poor Hobbit to a relatively wealthy Hobbit, but you're still only a Hobbit in Shire, far from being the savior of the world type of Hobbit like Frodo is.

Of course, knowing this kind of fact, that you're most probably gonna be stuck in the middle of the bell curve   for the rest of the life is pretty depressing for many of us to take so we try to hope things would perhaps get better in the future and stories provide us with these kind of hope. Besides, despite all the improbabilities, miracles do happen and it is possible for us to achieve our dreams if the timing is right. We just have to be careful of getting our hopes too high up that's all.


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