From Ordinary to Revolutionary: Could YOU do it?


I just finished reading a book in which the heroine goes from everyday, non-threatening girl to key revolutionary player. I realized that this happens a lot in books, which makes sense. Obviously, if Katniss had been like “nah, pass”, the book would have been pretty boring, watching her just sit around and die (spoiler: she joins the revolution). Sure, a few start out as badasses, like the lovely Celaena Sardothien, Sophia in Rook, or Saba from Blood Red Road, but more often than not, these protagonists are thrown into scenarios way over their heads and have to make a choice: fight or flight, sink or swim. And because the book would end at page 34 if they gave up, they usually attempt to fight.

I can probably name a dozen of these characters off the top of my head:

And this is seriously just the tip of the iceberg, I could have probably filled a whole post!

So it got me thinking about a few things:

  1. Do you know of any books where the protagonist does say “the hell with it, I am going to eat pop tarts and watch the world collapse into anarchy from the comfort of my soon-to-be bombed out living room”?
  2. Would you take a stance in this hypothetical revolution? I think we all would like to think we would, but in reality, I would have probably been that moron in the woods that lit the fire in the damn beginning of the game in The Hunger Games. In a tree? Shooting arrows? Guys, the first cannon would have had my name on it.

But… would I? I don’t know. Maybe I would be able to get some gumption when things really mattered and you know…. not die? Maybe I could fight if it was something so huge and worth fighting for? I am shockingly level headed in actual distressing situations, even though if you ask me to choose what to make for dinner I have a panic attack. So maybe… maybe I could step up?

The question at hand is could youWOULD you? Because those are two very different questions I suppose. So combining those things in a quiz to see if you OR I would be on Team Rebellion or Team Deserter seemed like the most logical step. Have at it!

So, would you join the revolution? Or is it sweatpants and Cheetos until the end for you?What did the quiz say? Let me know!

Posted July 30, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 63 Comments

63 responses to “From Ordinary to Revolutionary: Could YOU do it?

  1. Abi Pearson

    I would love to read more books about someone who turned down the chance to lead. Or someone who joined a revolution but wasn’t a key player. If I believed in a cause that was truly great, I’d join the revolution in a heartbeat. But would I be a key player? Probably not.

    • YES that would be amazing- to see the ramifications of someone who didn’t lead, and then things got bad. Or… maybe not! I can’t see myself as a key player either, though I guess that is what all those characters said too! Haha 😀

  2. SWEATPANTS AND CHEETOS FOR LIFE. For reals but I got yeah I’ll fight but I didn’t sign up for this which is probably accurate. It would be awesome to read a book where they were like nah I’m good let the world blow up. But then what would that book actually be about???? Fun post!

    • I think most people got the “I’ll fight but didn’t sign up” because ummm you had to be ridiculously extreme to get the other two! And is it bad that I now want to write that book? I just don’t know how it would end. I think eventually, the main character would HAVE to step up. I mean, otherwise everyone would just hate him or her! And thanks 🙂

  3. I definitely would fight if I had to. I’m not extremely brave, but I’ll work behind the scenes. I’ll take on the job. (Maybe.) I rather read.
    But I do want to learn how to fight. (In karate, bro!)

    This is an awesome quiz.
    Would you do it, Shannon? Join the rebellion, I mean.

    And brownie points for the How I Met Your Mother sword fighting scene. 😉

  4. Not surprisingly, I got that I’d fight but I wouldn’t be happy about it. This is such a great concept! I’ve thought about this too and I always figure I’d be one of the first to die off in an apocalypse – even if I decided I really WANTED to stay alive, that whole fighting thing would probably not work out well for me. Oh well, somebody has to be the dumb lady that dies at the beginning of the book.

  5. Uh, according to the quiz I’ll be dead by morning. LOL That pretty much sums it up, no? I’m thinking no to the revolution and yes to the Cheetos. 🙂

  6. I have noticed the trend of ordinary turned extraordinary protagonist. I’d so be screwed! I’m terrible in a crisis. Last week a car almost hit my mom (who has amazing evasive driving) my only thought was aaaah! In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Rincewind is always trying to run away from adventure. It never works of course, but he’s my kind of protagonist!

  7. What I great post, I love your quizzes!! 😀 I got Katniss from Mockingjay… big shoes to fill! I’ve often pondered the whole “ordinary girl becomes a hero” trope myself, and I’ve actually always wondered why books don’t feature a heroine that does join the revolution, but isn’t the one leading it or a central part of it. I suppose it could be boring, but done right, I think it would be refreshing, and possibly a lot more relatable!

    • Aww thank you!! Yes, I think it would be VERY intriguing to have a POV of someone on the sidelines- I think it COULD be done well, but like you said, it would have to be done right (I certainly don’t have the chops for such a thing!) HEY- Suzanne Collins, great excuse to write Peeta’s POV 😉

  8. Lol, I’d join the revolution, but I’d be terrible at it and probably die quickly. I’m kind of a wimp, and I’m bad at following instructions. I probably wouldn’t even survive all the training it takes to be a revolutionary character.

  9. stacy

    “Apparently, a woman can only go so long without a sword between her hands.” Loved the quiz, and I think my results are accurate. As someone who went on a one-week hunger strike my senior year of college and delayed my graduation because I skipped a midterm to do it (had to take summer school to make up for those credits!) I think I would do what needed to be done. I am a pacifist so I don’t know if I would necessarily take up arms, but I could lead a revolution.

    • That is AWESOME! I hoped someone would be badass enough to get that answer! So far, you’re the only one! And that is seriously amazing about the hunger strike and midterm thing. I like that you will stand up for what you believe in, and not just worry about what you “should” do. I think I may need you to be my life coach! 😀

  10. So despite knowing I would totally NOT join a revolution (I would just let them all have at it *sniffs* humans. So petty) the quiz said I would. 😀 HA. Ahem. Oh oh and I particularly love how your list is like ALL females and then…Jonas. 😉

    • Cait, you would be our leader, but from the comfort of some bookish swanky office. While eating copious amounts of cake, sending us to fight the battles. It’s okay, your ideas will be good enough that we will be victorious 😉

      And Jonas was the only dude I could come up with!

  11. Loved the quiz! I got “I was their Mockingjay long before I accepted the role.” O.o
    Honestly though, I have no clue what I’d do. I’m good at inventive swearing, if it helps?! I’m not athletic, so if I had to do something that involved a lot of physical strength I’d be in trouble. With the right motivation though I feel like I could join the revolution. If, for instance, someone I really cared about was in danger.

  12. Girl you know me, I’m not just joining the revolution, I’m LEADING that bitch!! lol. I haven’t been reading any Dystopian books lately, mainly because the genre got so repetitive for me, but after reading your post, I kind of miss ” overthrowing the government ” scenarios with bad ass female leads that the genre tends to showcase. Mmmm, let me find a good Dystopian to dive into!

  13. I think I would join the revolution if the cause affects me and the people that matter to me so much. Otherwise, I will pass the torch to someone else who cares more.

    I LOLed with your Tris description! It’s true that a lot of non-threatening protagonists become somewhat extraordinary when faced with a crisis. Suddenly, they are filled with all sorts of awesomeness!

  14. I am a Mockingjay…I clearly did not sign up for this, but if I’ there…WHAAACHAA! I don’t know though. I think I could do it more readily with a small band of people. It’s hard standing up on your own. That’s a really hard thing to say you would or wouldn’t do when not in that position.

  15. Wow! Great post! Really got me thinking….Aparently I’m a Mockingjay and I’d fight even though I didn’t really sign up for this. I could probably see this happening…with a fair amount of imagination! I think I could see myself joining the revolution, I am a bit of a rebel if I do say so myself, but… I don’t think I would play a huge role in it. I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of girl 🙂

  16. I love this post! Like you said, I’d like to think I would join in the revolution (and apparently the quiz results say I would join, since Katniss’ face appeared and was all “I was their Mockingjay long before I accepted the role” on me), but in reality it’s hard to say. To be honest, I don’t think I could be a Mockingjay like Katniss. (But I guess that’s okay, as long as I don’t just sit around and do nothing when the revolution comes around.)

    • Hahahah yes, you’d join, but begrudgingly (that is the Katniss result- I don’t know why the text only shows up on some people’s results- maybe it’s some kind of browser difference). So yeah, you’d do it if you HAD to, but you aren’t running out to sign up 😉

  17. HAHAHA the best part of this post was my result. I laughed at the hardass yeah of course I’ll kick your ass with my three toes answers, but what really got me was “Or maybe you just hope that Netflix is still working during the end of days.” Yeah, that’s… that’s probably a pretty accurate description. I also love that the first thing I noticed after I hit the button to calculate my result was “You’ll be dead by morning!” Gee thank, Shannon. :’D Probably true though. I like to see myself as becoming this badass, sword-wielding, arrow-shooting, witty comeback heroine, but in all honesty I’d probably just run and leave all my friends to die. No, scratch that, I don’t run. I would stroll leisurely.

    I did consider the question seriously before I saw there was a quiz to take care of it for me, and I honestly just don’t know. Maybe it depends on whether you’d catch me on a good day? 😀 I’m very afraid of death so maybe I’d just be like “ah sucks, that I lost all my friends and family, but hey at least I’m still alive”, but then again I DID grow up reading, and I honestly think that books set my moral compass to “decent person” more than anything else, so maybe I’d step up and get the job done. Or follow someone getting the job done so they can take all the responsibility and do the really dangerous stuff. I CAN be pretty reckless and also good in stress situations sometimes. Let’s just say in The 100 I wouldn’t be Clarke, but I might be Monty.

    I feel like I just way overthought this.

    • BWAHAH You make me laugh- I can totally picture you leisurely walking away from some buring hellhole, like “meh, I am bored of this”, sitting down in a field and like, playing on your phone or grabbing a book.

      I think if you’re Monty, you’re in good shape- and so is the rebellion! I can see you as a Monty type- you aren’t busting down doors, but you have a great mind to think through the tricky stuff!

      Now I miss The 100. 🙁

  18. I got “I’ll fight but I didn’t sign up for this”. That describes me hahaha I expecting that I wouldn’t join so I was surprised but when I read the paragraph, I was like “Yup, that’s me” lol This was a great post!

  19. I always thought this trope was so ridiculous in books. The unassuming, quiet girl is the one who will become the leading defiant trooper/martyr/tough girl to stand up to the oppressive government and the bad guys. Puh-lease. UNREALISTIC. I’m just like “WTH? NO.” That’s not how it works in life, bud.

  20. Haha, I love this topic! I’ve always wondered about this myself. I think it really depends on the situation – in the Hunger Games, for example, I would be totally dead. Both because I COULDNT defend myself, and because I absolutely WOULDNT kill the other people, even if I had the opportunity. Killing kids just isn’t an option for me, you know? But then, if it were some sort of situation where I had power to make a real, positive difference, saving people’s lives, I like to think that I would choke up (or actually, that I would snap out of it sooner rather than later), and be useful. In truth, though, I’d probably be shot or eaten or whatever before page 50.

    • Aw thanks! I agree- I could not and would not have killed Rue- or any other kids. BUT I would have killed Marvel, based on instinct, after he shot Rue. Like, poor Katniss would never have killed ANYONE, certainly not Rue, but Marvel forced her hand. So who knows? That ONE turning point… that could make all the difference.

      That said, I absolutely would have been the first casualty a protagonist stumbled upon 😉

  21. I would fight, but I’m more of the peacekeeper/middleman rather than a frontliner. It’s the libra in me, lol. I hate conflict, but I would pretty much do everything balance it out. I got the “I’ll do it, but I didn’t sign up for this” pick, lol. Pretty much me, too.

  22. According to the quiz, I would join the revolution, but really, I would not be happy about it. I think, honestly, I’d kind of just be dragged along behind my brothers. I could NOT be a leader though, I’m the complete opposite of level headed in a crisis, I’m more sit in the corner and sob while the real grown ups make decisions kind of person. 😉

    this was so much fun, Shannon!

  23. Great question! I heard about a book that explores that called The Rest of Us Just Live Here. At least, I think that is what it is about. I would like to think I would/could, but in reality I would probably just be dead on the first wave.
    I your poll, I got the the Mockingjay. I own a gun, so I know I could use it if I needed to. Also, I watch a lot of Naked and Afraid and Alaskan Bush People, so I have had some time to think about what I would be willing to do to survive. Hell, I ate MREs and peed in the woods when I was in the army, there is little I wouldn’t do to survive.

    • The Rest of Us Just Live Here! Patrick Ness! I love him! I need to read that book ASAP. It figures that a genius like Patrick would take this question and make it a thing!

      And Karen, from what I know of you already, PLUS the weapons and army stuff.. I am recruiting you to my revolution team. I saw you first, remember that 😉

  24. I got ”
    Yeah, you’ll fight, and you’ll save whoever needs to be saved. But make no mistake, you did not sign up for this. Although you’ll also admit that you have kind of turned into quite the competent hero lately…”
    I’m surprised, I though I’d be sweat pants and cheetos.

  25. Haha, now that is a valid observation, THEY ALL SEEM TO.
    Is there someone you know who you’d be willing to fight (and potentially die) for?
    Yeah, no. Not even myself, really. Sorry, not sorry. OH MY GOD, HAHA!
    Yeah, you’ll fight, and you’ll save whoever needs to be saved. But make no mistake, you did not sign up for this. Although you’ll also admit that you have kind of turned into quite the competent hero lately… WHOO!
    I…do not know any books like that, WHY ARE THERE NO BOOKS LIKE THAT…because it would probably boring, yup. But, it would be nice to have a not-so-hero/ine for a change.
    I don’t do well under pressure, but I think those who don’t do well under pressure, when pushed and have no choice/life or death, brings out the best in you.

    • YES! I think that is likely the point of the whole trope- to show that ordinary people, with proper motivation, ARE extraordinary, that we all have it in us, blah blah. BUT, do we ALL? No. But I think WE do. Meaning book bloggers- we have read up on this stuff, AND we have a community in which to rebel with. We’ll be fine 😉

  26. SO ACCORDING TO THE QUIZ, yes I would fight, but not because I signed up for it. I feel like if it happened in REAL LIFE, I would attempt to fight, but then die along the way. Unless I was a MC of my own story. Then I would win.

  27. Hahaha I would be dead by morning. Not even surprised, because I responded negatively to almost all of your questions.. whoops. 😛 Hey, no one can resist a passing taco truck, right? That was the right answer… RIGHT?

    I’m no fighter. It’s clear that any villain just needs a hug. I’ll just go give them a hug and offer them a jar of Ben & Jerry’s and all will be good.

    Awesome post and quiz, by the way. Really entertaining 😀 Anytime I read any of these books, I imagine what it would be like if that were me and instantly go, “NOPE”.

  28. Lol, it turns out I am the Katniss kind of girl who would step up and fight but was probably forced into it… which is just about right xD I would think about this a lot and I guess I would if it was something I REALLY believed was right. And did a lot of preparation and thinking before hand. I am slow in making my decisions xD But yeah, all the book characters do seem to step up and take hefty situations on their shoulders.

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