Fiction is not just a genre, but a world where anything is possible. It is a world where an ordinary human can become a hero; a monster can become a saviour; a peasant can become a king or a king can turn into a frog; where love can be found in the most unexpected places, and a dragon can become your best friend. We grew up watching, reading about these fictional characters, and sometimes subconsciously, even internalising what the characters stand for.
So, on our flights of fancy or when the chips are down, we too believe we can become a hero, succeed despite the odds, or find love in the most hopeless of situations. In such situations, our fictional heroes come to our rescue, telling us why giving up is not an option or why the darkest hour comes just before dawn. They end up teaching us some of the most valuable life lessons that no lecture or book can teach us.
Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones said, “There is nothing more powerful than a good story in the world,” as only those can inspire us to do great things in real life. We need good stories and good characters to see our own world in a new light. In this feature, Soulveda lists 15 fictional characters who inspired and moved us with their life lessons, who made us believe that anything is possible, even in our real world, if we dare to dream big and fight for it.
Possibly the most lovable character on screen, Forrest Gump doesn’t teach just life lessons but demonstrates the value of life altogether. He shows us, how, with honesty and kindness you can conquer any obstacle in life and turn foes into friends. A simple man, with a heart filled with love and care, Forrest does what is right—always, without giving any second thoughts. He doesn’t care if the world thinks he is different. All Forrest cares about is love, friendship, his mother, his country, and ping-pong, and he would go to any lengths to protect all of them, even if it means running through a rain of bullets or sailing in a raging tempest.
Maggie Fitzgerald from Million Dollar Baby, had no money, no opportunity, and no friends, and yet she rose above every challenge to become a world champion boxer. Her life is the story of every underdog who dreams bigger than life itself; it is one of resilience and diligence, to embark on a journey from being a no one to someone, and finally, the next one. She demonstrates that passion is greater than knowledge, and dedication is more important than talent. But without Frankie Dunn, Maggie’s grizzled boxing trainer, she might have lost her way. We all need a Frankie, a mentor in life—someone who measures us by the size of our heart, who sees something inside us that others couldn’t, and who pushes us beyond our abilities. With his help, Maggie managed to get up every time she was knocked down, which eventually made her everyone’s Mo Cuichle.
Every time we think of Walter Mitty, his dedication towards his job and the grandeur of his adventures come to mind. To complete one simple task, he travels thousands of miles, swims with the sharks, survives a volcanic eruption, befriends bandits, and travels to the Himalayas. The life lesson his character teaches us is that when you take ownership and responsibility at work; when you step out of your comfort zone for the call of duty, your life becomes an adventure.
Amelie, a naïve, young woman who finds joy in putting her hand through a sack of grain, skipping rocks, and looking at people’s faces in a theatre is the protagonist of the movie Amelie. The life lesson she teaches is that happiness lies in the smallest and simplest of things in life—be it in the murmur of the city, in helping a stranger, being empathetic with a withdrawn neighbour, or compassionate with an estranged family member. It is from her that you can learn to enjoy the moment—one doesn’t have to wait for life to become grand to enjoy it nor people to love you so that you can love them back.
This friendly, eponymous bear from AA Milne’s collection of stories Winnie The Pooh is the epitome of loyalty in friendship. Loyal to his friends, Piglet and Eeyore, and friendly with the other animals of the forest, this fictional character has a special place in the hearts of millions. There are times when he prefers to remain lost in his own world, but every moment, he learns something new about life, existence, and the importance of living in the present.
The all-time favourite fairy tale princess, Cinderella instills in us the meaning of never losing hope. After all, every night has a dawn, and the darker the night, the brighter the dawn. All you need is to stay true to your word, have the courage to dream and take chances when they come your way and always be kind, no matter how you are treated by others.