Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Thou Art Barry, The Chosen One!

You know that feeling you get when you really look at something you see on a day to day basis, and notice something new about it? That ‘How the hell did I not see that?!?!’ feeling? I had that today…in a sense.

I was playing Zelda : Ocarina of Time. Now, all the Zelda games follow a classic narrative. Some normal every day guy (in fact, the more of a nobody he is, the better) gets summoned by an authority figure, told that the whole kingdom is in jeopardy, and that because of a prophecy, he is the only one who can stop it.

This is very noble. It makes the reader/viewer/player feel good. It puts across the message that whatever your start in life, you are capable of achieving great things.

It’s a good story. However, what struck me today was one simple fact:

It bears absolutely no resemblance to real life, whatsoever. In fact, the very notion is absolutely ludicrous.

Let me explain.

Picture the scene. Steve, a swineherd, has been summoned to the Kings Chamber:

King : “So, basically Steve, can I call you Steve? There’s some pretty nasty shit going on. It turns out that the evil wizard Overlylongname the Overthetoptitle, has stolen the Amulet of Power. Now this thing is not your mother‘s earrings. With it, he can destroy the entire kingdom, and we want you to head off to Mount Doom, past the eight invincible dragons, through the Valley of Eternal Pain, through the Forest of Certain Death, past the Village of Embarrassing Smells…then defeat Overlylongname the Overthetoptitle, the invincible, all powerful Dark Wizard and get it back.”

Steve: “But why me, sire? Surely your mighty army would have greater chance of success!”

King : “It was foretold in a prophecy that has been handed down through the royal family for generations, that in our time of greatest need, a simple swineherd, clothed in the green of fields will come forth. Within him he will hold the spark of life that will bring Overlylongname the Overthetoptitle to his knees. Our greatest seer, Agnes, through meditation, the burning of magical herbs and consumption of secret potions, has foreseen that this Hero is you. Will thou taketh up the sword of truth and banish this evil?”

Steve : “Of course Sire!”

At this point, Steve charges from the castle, screaming a defiant battle cry. His journey is one of self discovery, he faces mortal dangers, makes life-long allies and he saves the day. He returns years later, covered in scars, possibly with a limp and carrying a magical sword. He is given a true Hero’s welcome. Then they send him off to do it all over again.

However, if this was real life…

King : “…will thou taketh up the sword of truth and banish this evil?”

Steve : “Bugger that!”

King: “What? I mean, Whateth?”

Steve : “I mean, no way, Kingie! Not a chance!”

King : “But the prophecy!”

Steve : “Prophecy? Ha! I don’t even read my horoscope!”

King: “But Agnes the Seer has decreed that you are the chosen one!”

Steve: “Agnes? Bloody Agnes?!? Some mad old bat, cooped up in a tower all day, burning ‘herbs’? Smoking crack, more like! Spending all day over a hot fire brewing and drinking potions? There’s nothing magical about that! Come to the pub with me on Friday night! After 12 pints of McClusky’s Olde Peculiar, you’ll think you can see the future as well! I can show you a 'herb' that one toke of can blow your tits off!”

King : “You would stand idly by, and watch our kingdom burn in flames?”

Steve : “I’d toast marshmallows, Kingie! You see, this is your kingdom. You get to live in this fancy castle, drinking from golden goblets, while I spend all day up to my knees in pig shit. You can have your Kingdom, I’ll just move. You’ve got something to lose, my hut’s made of mud, shit and sticks, I can knock a new one up in an afternoon, if ’ole Overlylongname’s headed this way, I’ll just leg it. I may not be able to fight very well, but I can give it toes like a demon!”

King : “Dost thou know nothing of HONOUR?!”

Steve : “Nope. Not much room for ’honour’ when you’re sharing a bedroom with five pigs suffering from explosive diarrhea, because if you leave them outside they’ll freeze. Anyway, why don’t you do it?”

King : “What?”

Steve : “Yeah, you do it! You’re the ruler, the Great King, placed on the throne by the Gods. Fighting the baddies is your job, not mine…although when you’re thinking of sending me off, alone no less, against the greatest threat the Kingdom has ever known, when you have a huge army that like the whole fighting thing, it’s a wonder this place is still standing!”

King : “But the prophecy says nothing of an army. It says…”

Steve : “Who cares? Some bloody story, told Chinese whispers-style for thousands of years, and confirmed by a 102 year old bint with Alzheimer’s, who’s so smacked off her tits she doesn’t even know what day it is? THAT’s your reason for the dumbest tactical move in history, since Bogrod The Bloody Stupid had the idea of setting all his own troops on fire to intimidate the enemy?”

King : “But you are the Chosen One!”

Steve : “There’s your problem, ‘choose‘ someone else. Crawling through zombie infested dungeons? Swordplay? Fighting against an invincible wizards? That’s volunteer work that is. Send that lad there.”

(Steve points to one of the Royal Guard)

Steve : “Look at him, eight feet tall if he’s an inch, carrying around three hundred pounds of shiny, shiny spiked armor as though it was nothing. Look at his face! He’s just dying to cut someone’s tonker off! I couldn’t lift his sword with an intricate pulley system!”

King : “The Royal Guard are my personal bodyguard. They do not venture forth into battle.”

Steve : “Oh, that's great that is. You want to send me off to face certain death hundreds of miles away, while keeping Young Barry there right by your side, to protect YOU? Seems to me like I‘d be the one needing protecting. I wouldn‘t have these bloody great six foot thick granite walls around me. What do you need protecting from? Slightly cold venison? A bad vintage with dinner? Overly starched sheets? Sod the fact that there might be a major battle going on, as long as the most highly trained and powerful military unit in the Kingdom is stuck in the castle, protecting you from slightly rough toilet paper. You can stick your Personal Guard up your bum, your Highness.”

King : “Barry, I mean, Royal Guard Captain Stokes is NOT the chosen one. You are. You are our only hope.”

Steve : “Oh, the chosen one thing again. Look, I know Barry‘s mum. She says he was a raving psychopath before he cut his first tooth. Murder that one was at school. Beat up the entire senior year’s football team when he was six, because one of them looked at him funny! Barry’s nearly four hundred pounds of barely contained rage-fueled killing machine. He’s the one you want. Send him with a couple of the other lads. They’ll sort out your problem, toot sweet!”

King : “Get out.”

Steve : “Now you’re talkin’, Kingie! I’ll be off then. Good luck with the invincible evil thing. I’ll be moving to Runnenshire to live with my sister.”

King : “I said GET OUT!”

Steve makes a rude gesture and leaves. Slowly the King turns to Barry, the Royal Guard Captain.

King : “So, Barry, what do you reckon? Do you want to….I mean, Dost thou want to take up the Sword of Truth and Smiteth The Evil Wizard Overlylongname the Overthetop title?”

Barry’s eyebrows meet in the middle. It’s obvious he’s not used to thinking. A few long minutes go by before he finally speaks.

Barry : “Nah, Sod that! Sounds a bit dangerous to me.”


Anonymous said...


OzzyC said...

You forgot the "Off with his head" comment from the king as Mr. Pig Farmer leaves the royal court.

MC Etcher said...

Oh, I laughed, all right. Now of my 'Top 5 Paulius Posts'

I'd expect the king to kill Barry for refusing...

Paulius said...

I know, I know. The king should have had steve killed. Imagine that the post is the DVD, and this is the 'Director's Cut':

King threatens to have Barry executed, so Steve takes the job, but as soon as he leaves the castle, he sells the 'Sword off Truth', and legs it.

Oh, and Etcher, sorry for blatantly ripping off your last Star Wars post...and by that I mean, thank you for inspiring me to write this completely original and non-derivative post