Epic in Scope

Rescuing a kidnapped princess was a trope so overdone, Final Fantasy started with it then wrapped up that story-line with the starting credits. It was the prologue before the story really started. And yet… many video games haven’t moved past it. Zelda and Princess Peach are still often damsels in distress.

The kidnapped princess is a pretty old hook, what with being sacrificed to dragons and all. Obviously it has become a little less Politically Correct, as all women are not helpless damsels that need to be saved, and even all royal princesses and noblewomen are not universally powerless and in need of rescue. (Really, any nobility would work equally well. “Princess” is just a good shorthand here.)

But part of me is sad to see a classic hook become sidelined. Partly because it’s simple. Elegant. The opponent is clearly defined and the adventurer’s goal is apparent. You know when you’ve succeeded at the quest. Not every story needs to be epic and involve a world ending threat, and kidnapped royalty is a quick example of small regional quest that involves the heroes interacting with political movers and shakers.