As the Christmas advert for Sainsbury’s has caused quite a stir amongst the population of Great Britain – some loving the sentiment, others thinking it is disrespectful, it has led to those of us in the office discussing who are heroes are this week.

Of course when someone mentions that they have a hero, it is a very personal choice and what each person means when they use the word ‘hero’ is different again.

The word ‘hero’ is thrown about quite a lot, well there are many powerful words that are careless thrown about but it is on heroes we are focusing. The charity, Help for Heroes, works to help those who have served in the UK’s armed forces and been injured in recent conflicts around the globe. The classic heroes in Greek mythology – Achilles, Jason, Hercules, Theseus, Perseus, Odysseus (as Phil says in Disney’s Hercules – there’s a lot of euses) – all had adventures, brushes with the Gods and accomplished great things. Then there are superheroes who are always there in the nick of time to save the day but most have powers that allow them to defend the weak and the helpless from the forces of evil.

In our discussions about heroes we have set aside the superheros and classic mythological figures and we asked everyone to name one hero from the real world and one hero from literature – here is what we all came up with:

The Real World

William Shakespeare

Winston Churchill

John Wayne

Elizabeth Fry

William Wilberforce

Nichelle Nichols

The Duke of Wellington

Admiral Horatio Nelson

Sir Patrick Stewart

Cleopatra

Joan D’Arc

Queen Elizabeth I

As you can see there is quite a range of men and women from different time periods that the office dogs consider their heroes, there were some other names mentioned but when it came down to picking just one this is what was decided. Others that were mentioned included Queen Elizabeth II, William the Conqueror, Queen Isabella, Pocahontas, Columbus, Mulan, Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Issac Newton, Marie Curie, William of Orange and Boudica.

In Literature

Ivanhoe

Boudica (Boudica: Dreaming the…)

Beowulf

Aragorn (Lord of the Rings)

Thorin (The Hobbit)

Mr Darcy (Pride & Prejudice)

Robin Hood

Sherlock Holmes

James Bond

Edmund (The Chronicles of Narnia)

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride & Prejudice)

Sara Crewe (A Little Princess)

This one was far more interesting than the real world as it led to hot debate with those that chose Thorin and Aragorn coming under particularly heavy fire for casting aside the hobbits in favour of the race of Dwarves and Men. But when it comes to books we seem to invest more in our heroes and are far more vocal in our praising and their defense when people disagree. There were lots of other names that were thrown out during the discussion including Richard Sharpe (though we have a sneaking suspicion that was down to Sean Bean more than the books), Timmy the dog (from the Famous Five), Jimmy the Hand, Katniss and pretty much all the characters in Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit (yes including the villains).

But from both these lists there are some qualities that these people and characters all share – but we’ll leave finding the connections and identifying these qualities for another day.

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