Dissecting Dragons

Episode 311: Run Away! Run Away! - the enduring Charm of Cowardly Characters

January 28, 2022

Most readers of SFF and speculative fiction are familiar with the 'call to arms' or inciting incident. That familiarity extends to the variety of ways a protagonist or side character reacts to the event. While bravery, calculation or a sense of adventure are more common, there is also something engaging about the unabashedly cowardly character. Going a step beyond being merely a reluctant hero, cowardly characters generally start with no desire to engage with the unfolding adventure at all. So what is it about these characters - both the positive and the negative - which captures the imagination? This week Jules and Madeleine take a look at various permutations of the archetype and theorise why. On the slab this week - The Princess Bride, Howl's Moving Castle, The Lies of Locke Lamora and many more.

 

Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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