You read about it in books, see it in movies, and play it in video games.
In so many stories, when there’s a Huge Menace or Big Evil threatening the world, only one person who has been chosen by destiny is fated to defeat it. That person is the Chosen One.
Can I just state, for the record, that I hate the shit out of this?
Besides the fact that it’s lazy storytelling — after all, it’s a lot easier to say Destiny Said So than to give protagonists real reasons to make real choices that have an impact on the world — there’s also the fact that most of the time, the Chosen One cliche says some pretty side-eye-worthy things about the world and who matters. If the Chosen One is the only one with the ability to fight Real Evil, and this individual is more often than not male, White, straight, cisgender, middle to upper class, young (or rather not middle-aged or old), able-bodied, and has no mental illnesses, what does that say about the people who don’t fit that mold? Are they too weak? Too stupid? Evil themselves?
Let’s look at this logically even though the cliche itself makes no fucking sense. Let’s look at history. Do you know what we call people who believe they have a special destiny that they must impose upon the world for its own good? Narcissists and megalomaniacs. These are not traits that go well with things like compassion, which is one of those crucial hero type qualities.
Not to mention, when you look at the really old myths and legends, those Chosen One types tend to come from the underclass and shake up the status quo rather than preserve it. What scares the Bad Guys about people trying to change things is that they never see it coming. Because they value only power, when they look for threats, they overlook those they consider powerless. They never realize that one of these days, the people they exploit and abuse will get sick of their shit and someone will decide to do something about it.
So let’s do away with the Chosen One. Let’s leave prophecy and fate out of what makes someone a hero. What do you think are some ways we can do that?