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