This week, the guys look at the idea of heroes. Back in Homer’s day, “hero” was almost synonymous with the heavily armed and armored warriors that were the subjects of the Iliad, and not just the big names like Odysseus, Achilles, or Ajax. They exemplified the warrior virtues: prowess, toughness, courage, loyalty, and honor, understood as recognition and deference by others. The Middle Ages saw a major change in this largely under the influence of Christianity: humility, generosity, protection of the weak, and the like became part of chivalry, the warrior code. Today, in films ranging from The Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones and The Green Knight, these virtues are ignored, inverted, or deliberately downplayed or distorted as unrealistic and untrustworthy. The guys reflect on what this means about our culture and the loss of nobility of character even as an ideal in our cultural imagination.
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