Heroes of our time

Alisha Shinde & Tanya De
Monday, 6 May 2019

Pop culture enthusiasts have been on quite the roller coaster ride lately. While some have been pining for the beloved characters they lost, others have been rejoicing at how their favourite onscreen personas have come into their own

You can be drawn to a person because of certain characteristics — it might be their confidence, their style, their humour or the way they live their lives. This attraction is not just limited to actual people around you, it also extends to those you see on-screen or read about in a book. Though they are fictional, some characters manage to make space for themselves in your heart. 

With Marvel’s most anticipated movie, Avengers: Endgame and the final season of Game of Thrones (GoT) hitting screens lately, we ask people how their relationship with their favourite on-screen character has evolved and the fate they met in the GoT and Avengers. 

Devyani Tikle, a physiotherapist says that ever since GoT season 1, she has seen Arya Stark grow in every aspect. “From pity to admiration, she grew, helping me grow with her,” she says. Tikle still remembers when Arya was disguised as a fatherless boy as she hid from the killers of her father. “At that time too, she did not show  signs of desperation, teaching me about the surprises life has for all of us.” 

Life isn’t white or black; it’s mostly grey.  Referring to how Arya made the best of her condition and emerged as an even more powerful person, she says, “She taught me how to see the best in every situation, stand up for myself, and remember the lessons taught by life.”

Another fan of ‘The Girl With No Name’, Mrunalini Shinde, a marketing professional, talks about how Arya Stark is a born fighter. “Right from the beginning, Arya knew that she had to survive on her own and she made her way through it all. Even as some of the strongest characters in the series met their doom, Arya stood strong and rose above her trials,” she says, adding that the reason she relates so much to the character is because Arya knows how to stay true to herself even in dire circumstances. “She did not need social conditioning, she just required a bit of guidance and she bloomed into a fierce fighter.”  

Inspired by another strong female character in the series, Ashish Panhalkar, a merchant navy officer, shares how Daenerys Targaryen is more than just a pretty little thing. “An ambitious leader and a stern administrator, is what makes Daenerys Targaryen invincible. From being sold to a king, and then being a homeless widow, to now leading legions of soldiers and being the mother of dragons, she has defied all odds. An underdog in a male-dominated world, Daenerys has shown the grit of a stateswoman and a compassionate ruler who does not only think of herself but also of the empire. That is how a leader should be — not afraid to face anyone and to stand up for the needy,” says Panhalkar. 

While some might might accuse Sansa of being the most complacent character in the show,  Ujjwala Shinde, architect, believes she is a pillar of strength. “When everyone thought Sansa Stark was dumb and had no opinion of her own, I really felt she had potential. She has endured more than any other character in GoT — she lived through so much torture, evolved and learnt how to deal with her hardships,” Shinde says, adding that she loves the arc of Sansa’s character from being an arrogant, pampered girl to a strong commanding woman. “Lady Stark surely knows how to get things done,” she says.  

Arundhati Bhand, aspiring artist, says that she always found the character of Black Widow to be fascinating. “Introduced as an undercover SHIELD agent in Iron Man, to becoming a beautiful warrior willing to sacrifice herself, her character grew exponentially from a Russian killer to a global hero. She kept her calm during the worst of circumstances, and came to care for her friends who became her family. I couldn’t stop my tears when I saw her mangled body on screen,” says Bhand, adding that she was mesmerised by Scarlett Johansson’s impeccable performance as Natasha Romanoff. “But it is the evolution of her character which truly inspires me to be the best version of myself,” she adds. 

While Vanshaj Vig, a photographer says that his favourite character from the beginning of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) has been Thor because he is basically someone who will never let his friends down and has withstood every problem gracefully. “He was given great importance in the previous Avenger movies but in Endgame, his role took a backseat. There was hardly anything he had to do, which I think was very unfair. I just wish the makers were true to his character — the mighty Thor who knows what he wants and is ready to avenge the loss of his brother,” says Vig.

Voicing millions of others who are pining for Tony Stark, Harsh Adwani, a media student, says, “Iron Man always stayed with me due to his heroic yet arrogant nature. Even though his death was heartbreaking in the film, it was the only way to do justice to the kind of hero he was. His way of thinking was futuristic. He knew what he wanted in life and always planned ahead, making the best use of his resources. If people think the way he did in real life, we would probably be an advanced race,” says he.

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