Last night, as I put my five year old daughter down for bed, she said, “Mom, there’s something magic about me you should know: I can sleep with my eyes open.”
(She's so afraid to miss anything that she waits until her poor body shuts down and she's forced to close her eyes and sleep.)
Anyway, I wanted to laugh, but I didn't because it would have offended her. And then what she said made me think. She had something there about fantasy and magic. And I wondered, why are readers drawn to the genre (whether it be Robert Jordan, JK Rowling, Lewis Carroll, or anyone else)?
I've decided it's because we want to feel that connection, that there’s something special or magical about the character, and by extension, ourselves. Harry Potter? He was the plain boy who lived and then became the Chosen One. Alice? She was the ordinary girl who fell through the rabbit hole and experienced life large, life small, and then returned to remember the adventure. And Rand Al Thor? The ordinary farm boy who would become the Dragon and break the world. And in my books, Cierra. The normal girl who has the talents and ability to become something more. My daughter? Ordinary but confident enough to think she can do something extrodinary.
Perhaps it's bad that all these characters are seemingly cliché, but as a reader, I find the ordinary protagonist with hidden potential so endearing that I can’t help but embrace a connection I feel towards them. So yes, my daughter, there is something magical about you, but it’s definitely not sleeping with your eyes open! :)