Favorite Fictional Characters, #151: Hector
Homer's Iliad is an epic tragedy, the rich depiction of a Trojan War that is a total disaster for virtually everyone involved. The Greeks, though victorious, pay prices nearly as high as the Trojans. Achilles, their greatest hero, is slain, along with countless others over a decade of fighting. The tale is one of heroism and courage and sacrifice, but also one of the futility and cost of war.
I've always been drawn to the character of Hector, the eldest prince of Troy. He bears the burden of being the best player on a team destined to lose, and he knows it. He knows the city he loves will fall. He knows his wife and child are going to be killed or enslaved by the Greeks. And he knows that even though he can't stop it, he has to try. He has to go fight Achilles, knowing he's going to die, and that everything he's ever loved will burn when he falls. Is there anything more heroic, more tragic, more awful?
It's Memorial Day, and I'm thinking of our own fallen heroes. How many of them knew when they hugged their Andromache that it would be the last time? I don't know if we're Troy or Greece, but I do know that war is expensive, even for the victors.