By Nick “Novel” Gabanski
I hate prophecies. They’re ridiculous, self-fulfilling, and exist only to forward the plot. They are literally nothing more than plot-devices. If you’ve read my other blog pieces, then you’ll know how much I despise clichés. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered a prophecy in the story for some over-powered villain to hear, take all possible preventive measures in stopping said-prophecy, only to hurry along the inevitable rise of the hero from a tragic background to defeat the villain.
This very basic formula has grown old quite fast. Frankly, I think it got old after the Bible pulled it off. But no, let’s forward more and more plots with these prophecies, usually copying the tale of baby Jesus with someone being proclaimed “The Chosen One.” This then leads to the main hero questioning who they are and if they even have a choice in the matter. This makes for easy and uninventive tantruming of the hero with the whole issue of “I don’t want to do this, I didn’t ask for this!” scenes.
Granted, there are a few times where a prophecy is done right. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling, handled it rather well, the prophecy not coming into play until book 5. Another example is an older fantasy movie titled Willow, directed by Ron Howard and George Lucas. Briefly on the plot, the “chosen one” is an infant. A rather clever way of avoiding those whiny dialogues with the main character and side-characters. And it begs the question of how a mere baby will overthrow an evil sorceress. Well, if you really want to know, see the movie.
Anyway, I think what really bothers me the most is how the villains handle prophecies. It never fails: every single time they hear a prophecy like, “A boy/girl of something-blood will bring your downfall” or something like that. Solution? Kill every single person fitting that description and hope that they were all successfully destroyed. But, such is always the case where that one lucky individual survives, leaving them with nothing. This is all a perfect mixing bowl for giving them that unnecessary tragic backstory and motive to defeat the villain. Sometime, I’d like to see a prophecy story where the villain hears the prophecy and does nothing to act on it. I’m just curious to see how that story would go if the formula deviated from the norm. It’d be an odd tale to be sure, but an entertaining one.
Edited by Melissa Brooks