TTT: Types of Leaders in Fiction
This is my first time joining Top Ten Tuesday! TTT is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010.
This weeks prompt was Ten Characters Who Would Make Great Leaders. Leaders of what was left open for interpretation, and I decided to change the question more to types of leaders we see in fiction (I deliberately say fiction because I took inspiration and examples from both books and movies). Also, I stuck with five types and five examples for each. That was hard enough already 😂
The obvious one to start with are those in dystopian lit, in my opinion. The main character usually ends up leading something/everyone/the revolution, whether they want to or not. Luckily for us, most are pretty great leaders, what a coincidence! Think characters like Tris from Divergent, Katniss in The Hunger Games, Todd Hewitt from Chaos Walking, America Singer in The Selection and Thomas in The Maze Runner.
Another well-known group is The Chosen One. As the name suggests, they didn’t choose this position themselves but are more often than not thrown into it and accept graciously or begrudgingly, depending. As they were prophesied/have a special gift/are the child of a god/whatever they did to become The Chosen One, they too are great leaders, usually. They are literally picked because of what they will accomplish. The most famous (and literal) example is, of course, Harry Potter. Others include Percy Jackson, Lucy (or by extension all siblings) Pensive from The Chronicles of Narnia, Bilbo Baggings in Lord of the Rings and Luke Skywalker in Star Wars.
Less prominent (and harder to find examples for) but maybe my favourite kind, are those who are the leader of a crew. You’ll find them in multi-POV books, for instance. Usually, they lead because they picked the crew or it sort of collects around them, occasionally because they emerge as the leader. They have the necessary requirements, are the strongest and/or smartest or sometimes the glue that holds the group together. Most of the times they actively choose to lead. My favourite of this type is Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows, and recently Diana from Wonder Woman: Warbringer. Jess in Not Your Sidekick is a less obvious example but has a crew (or group of friends) to save the day with anyway. We also have Ender, in Enders Game, and Helene, Laia or Elias (a case can be made for all of them, I feel, but memory might be failing me) in the series An Ember in the Ashes.
More famous leaders but never the main character are those in the (often wise, old, male) mentor trope. They too chose to lead, in different variations and closeness to the protagonist, and sometimes secretly (or not so secretly) pulling the strings. Some well-known ones: Dumbledore, Gandalf, Professor X, Yoda, and Aslan.
And lastly, and more abstract, the leader in the background. They lead, whether they chose to or not, and are important to the story because of the politics involved and if they align with those of our hero or not. Examples are general types like the general, the mayor, the captain of x or y, the leader of the institute and even broader, the government (both good or evil, think Shacklebolt in Harry Potter or Alma Coin from district 13 in The Hunger Games).
Who’s your favourite leader? Did I forget a type? Let me know!