Because I am a huge nerd, I have watched/read a lot of science fiction and fantasy.
My friend Amy suggested that today’s post be a list of life lessons I’ve learned from science fiction, fantasy, and other things like that.
So, without further ado, here it is: 15 things I’ve learned from scifi and fantasy.
–warning: there are spoilers in these examples–
- Even the best people have darkness in them. Once Upon a Time. Mary Margaret, or Snow White, is supposed to be the most ‘perfect’ person in the series, but she does a couple of things that are absolutely terrible. Again, in The Village, one of the best characters turns out to be a bit of a devil; and in that movie, the group is trying to escape sin. You can’t run from evil; it’s inside all of us. We’re born in a sinful world and everyone’s got a dark side.
- If you don’t trust someone, you’ll be miserable. Harry Potter. The Malfoy family is a great example of this. Draco, especially, expresses his disdain for people he knows and how he only trusts himself–and he’s miserable. He doesn’t even like himself and eventually his friends desert him. Other characters who don’t rely on friends and family end up alone and miserable. If you don’t put yourself in harm’s way and risk counting on someone, how can you ever be pleasantly surprised?
- Humor is a perfectly legitimate defense mechanism, but sometimes it’s not enough. Firefly. Mal, the captain of Serenity, uses humor to laugh off things that are hard to swallow–but sometimes, he has to step back, distance himself, and grieve in a totally not-funny way. Humor is fine for a defense mechanism for a while, but sometimes you have to accept that laughing something off isn’t actually going to make it funny.
- Everyone fights battles and deals with casualties a little differently–and that’s okay. Firefly. Mal and Zoe have very different battle strategies. Mal is a ‘here-I-am, come-and-get-me’ fighter, whereas Zoe is more of a sneak-attack kind of fighter. Both of them fight well and both of them survived the wars they were in. Find a fighting strategy that fits who you are, and you’ll do better than adopting another person’s game plan.
- Sometimes it’s the people who don’t want authority that make the best leaders. Divergent. Tris becomes a leader without really pursuing leadership. She doesn’t become president, or a faction leader, but people follow her lead for one reason; she’s passionate about what she’s doing and she knows where she wants to go. She is good at getting things done, she fights for what is right, and she’s not controlling. People look to her as a leader because she cares about what she’s doing, not about who puts their feet in her footprints and follows her into battle.
- Always be curios but always be respectful. Doctor Who. The Doctor and his companions always meet new ‘lifeforms’ and people, but through it all, they’re respectful. They may not accept everything about a culture or a person’s lifestyle, but they don’t try to tell others how to live; instead, the Doctor suggests ways for people to live peacefully, he helps them become better, and he fights for what is right.
- Ends do not always justify means. The Hunger Games. Katniss wonders several times if what’s she does is really worth the end result; living. In the first and second books, the guilt she lives with after the Games makes her wish she had died. Peeta, too, questions if it was worth his life to see so many others lose theirs. Sometimes, a good result doesn’t justify the steps that were taken to get somewhere.
- With great power comes great responsibility. Spider-Man (like you didn’t know that). Misuse of power is a terrible, terrible thing. When power, authority, or leadership is handed to you, it takes a lot of maturity and a lot of good advice to keep from being sucked into a power-hungry, power-abusing person. Peter Parker shows humility and resourcefulness in his Spider-Man role and uses his power for good instead of personal gain or terror in general–something villains like The Joker and Voldemort don’t do.
- Technology does not a corrupted man make–but it doesn’t help, either. Divergent. Jeanine Mathews has access to all kinds of technology and resources, something the Abnegation don’t take advantage of. Jeanine is corrupt to the bone, but then so is Max, one of the Abnegation elders. Technology doesn’t make Jeanine evil; even those without technology is evil. Rather, technology enables Jeanine to use her corruption and use it in a more wide-spread way.
- Justice always wins in the end, but sometimes you have to find it for yourself and face the monsters along the way. The Lord of the Rings. Frodo has the One Ring. It’s powerful, tempting, and must be destroyed. Instead of giving the ring to someone else and going back to smoking his pipe and eating mushrooms with Merry and Pippin, Frodo personally takes the ring to the mountain to destroy it. Along the way, he has to fight all kinds of monsters. This is a struggle that everyone goes through; we have to fight monsters all the time, fight temptation, and trudge through grime to complete things that must be done, things that will result in a better, more just world.
- Everyone has baggage and everyone has skeletons in their closet. Firefly. Really, everything is a good example of this, because everyone has a back-story, but Firefly’s characters all have demons that come out at various times. Even Kaylee, the ‘innocent’ character, has a shocking past. Mal and Zoe have guilt from a war, Jayne has an entire army of skeletons in his closet (and adds more every day), and even River has some dark secrets.
- Everyone is on a journey and in a battle. Lord of the Rings. Even though people like Legolas may have a calm exterior, he’s fighting a battle every day. Arwin and Eowyn fight internal and external battles; Gandlaf himself struggles with the temptation the ring provides. Even the people who seem to have it all together have struggles they deal with daily. No one is really alone in a fight unless they choose to be alone, and that usually ends badly.
- Who you take on your journey and how you prepare for your battles are the keys to success. The Hobbit/LotR. Bilbo is drafted to help a group save a dwarven mountain. He goes on a journey with the most unlikely of groups, and honestly, the endeavor would’ve failed without any one of them. Every person in the group–and in Frodo’s Fellowship, too–is vital to the success of the mission. Without Boromir, the hobbits would’ve died. Without Gandalf, the dwarves would’ve been eaten by trolls. The people who join your in your journeys are important to your success as well as their own.
- People who fight for others are more satisfied with success than people who fight for themselves. Harry Potter. “You know, we’ve got something he doesn’t; we’ve got friends.” Harry fights not just for himself–in fact, he gets himself killed for his friends. Harry fights for a better world, his friends’ lives, and for people he doesn’t even know. He wins, in the end, because he was willing to fight for others instead of just for himself. People who fight for selfish gain aren’t willing to sacrifice; people who are willing to sacrifice to help others have much more to gain.
- Sometimes you need someone you don’t agree with to join you on your journey to ensure success. Star Trek. In the new movie (don’t hate me, fans), Kirk and Spock don’t get along very well, but their contrasting viewpoints usually mean they can see every angle, every side of an issue, and so they’re a more effective team. Sometimes, you need to be friends with someone who has a different perspective so that you can see life from a different viewpoint. That doesn’t mean you always accept another viewpoint, though; Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated man to entertain an idea without accepting it.”
Well, there you have it, some life lessons from the nerdosphere. I hope you enjoyed it.
What are some life lessons you’ve learned from somewhat nerdy things?