We have long been obsessed with the chosen one. This ubiquitous archetype has spawned thousands of heroic narratives involving a prophecy and a great evil to be overcome. But in recent years, we’re seeing less and less of the standard trope, and more subversions, which have contributed to the rise of the antihero, and the villain-hero narratives that populate the grimdark fantasy scene.

But it has also led us to consider the moral, political and psychological consequences of being a chosen one, a saviour of humanity. For this episode, we’re joined by bestselling author Veronica Roth, whose new book, Chosen Ones, re-examines the archetype in a contemporary setting and asks the question: what can we reasonably expect from our heroes?

Mentioned in this episode:

  • The Greek Myths
  • The Parables Duology by Octavia Butler
  • The Belgariad by David Eddings
  • Dune by Frank Herbert
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Harry Potter by JK Rowling
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • Animorphs (TV)
  • Power Rangers
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • Captain Planet
  • Star Wars
  • The Matrix
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Star Trek

VERONICA ROTH is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of the Divergent series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection), the Carve the Mark duology (Carve the Mark, The Fates Divide), and many short stories and essays.

Chosen Ones is available now.