|Whatever Spock's political orientation, no one can doubt|
that he is a hero.
Irrespective of arguments about Spock's political orientation, the reminder of his heroism in The Wrath of Khan got me thinking about heroism/heroinism in general, and especially how the ultimate sacrifice, my life in exchange for saving the lives of my companions, returns to us in many different forms in some of our favorite stories.
Of course, it does not always take delivery of the ultimate sacrifice in order to achieve a heroine's or hero's goals. Oftentimes, the resolute willingness to accept a challenge that might demand that sacrifice is enough.
We have the classic story of Frodo and his burden of destroying the Ring, made all the more compelling by the fact that Frodo was one of a host of characters in LotR who were willing to sacrifice their lives in the effort to save Middle Earth from Sauron.
|In Nemesis, Data saves Picard's life and the lives of all their crew, |
but unlike Spock and Kirk, they don't get the opportunity to say good-bye.
A generation after Spock exposed himself to lethal radiation in order to save the crew of the Enterprise, Data would follow in his footsteps by rescuing his own crewmates at the cost of meeting certain doom during the explosive climax of Nemesis.
In the last Harry Potter film, we were led to believe for a handful of compelling scenes that in order to kill Voldemort, Harry himself, who carried a part of Voldemort's spirit, would have to die.
|The denouement of Ender's Game is a disturbing|
application of weighing the needs of the many
against the needs of the few.
These are some of the most famous examples, though I'm sure you can come up with more -- and I hope you do! One thing they all have in common is the promise of resurrection. Thanks to the Genesis Project, Spock was returned to us in the next Star Trek movie. Frodo survives Mound Doom, and though he never returns to his former life, he is given an everlasting home among the elves. A part of Data lives on in his less-developed but promising brother, B4. And Harry, as we all know, didn't have to die after all.
Is the promise of resurrection somehow inherent to the trope of the ultimate sacrifice? Are we so reluctant to kill our heroes and heroines that we must always find a way to grant them immortality? Or is the possibility of resurrection simply a metaphor for the staying power of such formidable heroes and heroines in our memories and in our imaginations?
I'd love to hear what you think about ultimate sacrifice, resurrection, and the role both play in our favorite stories.
- posted by Karin Rita Gastreich