Thursday, November 30, 2017

On Cat and Courage

Catalia Fisa, the heroine of the Kingmaker Chronicles, is no stranger to adversity. In fact, it’s been the defining theme of her life. From betrayal, to loss, to pain, to fear, it’s fair to say that she’s been knocked down—hard and a lot. What makes Cat, or anyone who goes through hardship, a hero and a survivor is that she gets back up again. It may take time, nearly impossible effort, and completely redefined life strategies, but it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when, and how.

Everyone defines courage at least somewhat differently, with nuances that come from their own trials, successes, failures, and life experiences. For me, courage is often about not giving up and making sure I stay true to my own moral compass. In Breath of Fire, the Cat we see coming out of her shell and starting to take responsibility for her people and their future is a Cat who is beginning to understand a more layered meaning of bravery. Our heroine already has the type of courage it takes to fight monsters and stand up for herself. What she finds over the course of the trilogy is the courage to make the decisions she knows are right, even if they’re the hardest choices to make, and lead down the most difficult paths.

For Cat, moving forward is a choice, just like standing still or moving back. She chooses to fight for a better world, despite her fears and the inherent danger, and without any guarantee of success. There is only hope, and a true effort to achieve meaningful goals.

In the Kingmaker Chronicles, Cat faces mythological monsters, but she also has to deal with fighting her own inner beasts, just like we all must. In writing this feisty, flawed heroine, I came to understand that for me, courage is above all about rising up, rising again, and rising always, even if it’s difficult beyond measure, and even if the first try doesn’t always work.