Poor farmboy goes on a quest and winds up saving the world, right? He doesn’t have to be a farmboy; he can be a pig-herder, a baker’s apprentice, or some other menial occupation. You see it everywhere from Lloyd Alexander to Christopher Paolini — poor boy makes good (even if the pig herder goes back to being a pig herder).
Eragon lives on a farm and also hunts to help provide food for the family. Bilbo Baggins doesn’t seem to have had any job when Gandalf came along and picked him as a burglar. Cat Barahal is a poor schoolgirl on scholarship. Wesley becomes the Dread Pirate Roberts. Luke Skywalker is a dirt farmer. (OK, we don’t have to argue about whether Star Wars is fantasy or science fiction here. I’m just discussing the trope.)
The important point is that a simple soul goes on an adventure. Who wouldn’t want that? Most of us get up, go to work, come home — same-old, same-old, every day. We may want riches, we may want adventure, we may just want a change of pace. The farmboys of epic fantasy get that. They’re plucked from their quotidian existence and given a challenge. No one starts a hero, but each of them is given the chance to become one.
Who’s your favorite “farmboy” from fiction?
This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is epic fantasy, and blog posts will cover authors, books, tropes, themes, or anything else I can think of to fill the alphabet. Check out some of the other bloggers participating or follow my blog by e-mail if you like what you’ve read.