Monday, December 30, 2013

A couple thoughts about hunters

The hunter has become a staple in fantasy fiction.  The idea of being a warrior and hunting for something has been around forever, showing up in movies and books all over.  In human history, the hunter was the person who brought back food and ensured the family and group would survive.

Hunters, slayers, trackers - aside from being something constant in human life as a source of food, they're also present in our tales and stories.  Now, with the collective media focusing on telling stories about supernatural creatures in our world, the role of the hunter is also in the focus again.

Shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Agents of Shield and countless others have a special place for the hunter, as the lone defender of the human race.  They can be good or bad, have great morals or not so reputable ones - but they have a very important place as the person(s) who stands between the 'creature' and the rest of humanity.

The idea of the hunter seems to center on a small group of individuals who are specially trained to handle these threats.  They know the proper tools to take down the monster or dismiss the ghost, letting us live our life normally.  They are the only ones who seem to have any idea of what's going on behind the shadows and I think, that's the appeal.

A person who has either stepped into this life of constant battle or has been raised in it since birth holds an appeal to writers - because of the isolation.  They don't fit in, or if they do, the very act of the hunt is distancing.  They take their life into their hands to save others, and at the very least they're left to wonder if anyone would even notice if they disappeared and that creature got away.  Instead of a hunt for food, it's become a hunt for safety, a goal that never seems within reach.  This creates a constant plot line and plenty of ways to explore a character in their trials.  It also creates a foundation for relationships between characters that are that much more intense then they seem in normal life.  There's an urgency almost built into the character because they know their own mortality and they flirt with it every day.

These kinds of things draw me to these characters.  To create them, to write them and to create a world where they fit into the shadows.  What do you think?  If you're reading this you've probably had exposure to this genre.  What do you like about the archetype of the hunter in current urban fantasy fiction?  What do you think makes their lives so much more interesting?

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