My definition of a champion has changed over the years. In child and young adulthood, I was full of idealism and engrossed in fantasy worlds such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Lord of the Rings. Though full of epic challenges and deadly battles, the moral framework of such worlds is beautifully, impractically simple. There are bad guys, and you know exactly who they are and why they are wrong, and your own innate goodness is validated by your very opposition to them.
As I grew older, though my love for the fantasy narratives that helped to shape my appreciation of the genre never faded, I began to appreciate stories with more shades of grey, characters with motivations more complex and difficult to pin down. In such stories, it can be difficult to separate the champions from the villains. In life, it is often impossible to do so.
As a child I idolised Buffy, fantasising about slaying demons and monsters, and being strong enough to defeat anything. Later in life, I faced my own very real struggles with anxiety and depression, and I began to fear that there are fights that can’t be won, no matter how hard you try. I was wrong. Trying every day is winning. It makes us all champions. In the little victories as well as the big ones.
And if the night ever does seems a little too dark and full of terrors, and I’m on the verge of losing hope in the world we live in – there’s always a story waiting, full of adversity and triumph and salvation, to remind me that the art we create reflects the possibilities and potential we hold, and that is a beautiful thing.