Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just something I'd like to see

Not that I want to add fuel to the fires of deconstruction, but there's still a trope out there I don't care for.

It's a pretty classic story, not one that's used too much anymore, but one I like to talk about. It's the "we must restore the King to the Throne!' story.

Usually, some evil warlord/barbarian invader takes over Atlantis/Attlian/Wakanda/where ever, and the heroes have to help their friend get back his "rightful" throne.

This only works for the following reasons:

1) The ousted royal(s) are friends of our heroes, the protagonists.
2) The "usurpers" are invariably more evil the ousted royal(s). They are harsher to the citizenry, insane, etc.
3) Because it's a common trope of fantasy fiction that dates back from an age where royalty mattered.

What's never really addressed, though its certainly under the surface in stories like these, is that the heroes are restoring a (benevolent) dictatorship. Which is a bit odd for American superheroes set in the modern era. Never mind that in many cases (i.e. Aquaman, Black Panther), the monarch tends to leave the country so they can go adventuring across the world and time and space instead of, you know, their job. Whatever your politics, you'd probably be a bit annoyed if the President of the United States spent 80% of his time outside the country, say, fighting robots from Mars because that's not what he's elected to do.

So, what would happen if a popular uprising of people back in the king's homeland came to power with the intention to install a democratic system? Would a superhero team like the Justice League of AMERICA help their friend go back to being an absentee ruler?

The other really disturbing factor about these stories is that implies very heavily that there is no other persons or parties or factions that could run said nation. Which have some negative connotations about that society, as well as the royals themselves.

Just a thought.


Rebekah said...

Hmm, innnnnnnteresting. Mind if I steal? :)

MrCynical said...

Heh. Just so long as you link back.