The Little Things

Heroes never pee.

It doesn’t matter if they are in a comic book, cinema, or video game. They do not pee. Frodo can challenge Sauron, but he can’t take a dump. Aang is frozen for a century but doesn’t get a cold. Geralt (when he’s not dealing with screeching monsters) has people yelling at him. All the time. But does he get a headache? Of course not.

Why not? Think of all the possible plot twists. If the writers had allowed Frodo to go potty, Sam would have known by the smell that Frodo wasn’t dead despite his encounter with Shelob. A person can empty their bowels while paralyzed. Just think of the scene. “Oh, Frodo, Frodo… Ugh… What’s that smell?” If Aang had caught a cold when Katara released him from the ice, they might have gotten together a lot faster. It may sound cliché but it’s nonetheless true that girls like having someone to fuss over. We might have been treated to a few scenes reminiscent of the ones from Back to the Future when Lorraine nearly falls for Marty. And just imagine how much grumpier Geralt would be if he had a headache or the magical elixirs, he would down to get rid of it. I am sure a special effects team somewhere is salivating at the mere thought of those drugs. I most certainly would enjoy watching them. So why don’t writers allow heroes to suffer minor ailments and indignities?

In suspect they are afraid of boring us. And OK, saying you need to use the loo may not sound exciting but that doesn’t mean it can’t be. It may sound grandiose, but the thoughtless words uttered because you have a headache can change the course of your entire life.

A hypothetical. You go out on a first date with someone who seems nice. Midway through dinner, you develop a skull-crushing headache but don’t tell your date about it because you are having too good a time. And then, because you are in pain, you say something mean. The guy you’re with decides you’re obnoxious and you never see each other again. But for those stupid words you might have married him. Or maybe you say something ill-considered at work because your stomach is killing you and your boss takes offense. There goes your promotion. Details matter.

Maybe we don’t need to know every last detail about our favorite characters’ bodily functions and illnesses. But they we should know they use the toilet and get sick. When these little things are erased from our heroes’ lives, their fictional selves are diminished.

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