Wisdom is a trait often associated with experience. When we talk of wise people, the first thing that comes to mind is a grandma in a rocking chair with knitting needles and crescent glasses on the nose, looking up with a smile before breaking into an enlightening sermon that changes the very course of the listener’s life. While the analogy sums up the the trait, wisdom isn’t something confined to the elderly.
In a more real sense, wisdom is like a wildflower; It grows in every mind and is often overlooked by the common eye but just as the beauty of a wildflower makes an impact when observed up close, wisdom can be acquired by the simple act of seeking for it.
In this post, Imma seek for Athena’s element in the world of fiction and bring to you some of the most curious shrines of wisdom in its infinite power.
The Surprise Wisemen.
Often, the advice that changes our lives or proves to be the ultimate pat on the back comes from the people we least expect it from. These people are not exactly known for their wit but wisdom is not the same as knowledge as these folks are high on their emotional quotient.
Linus, Donkey and Dory have entered the chat.
Linus Van Pelt from ‘Peanuts’ is often seen as an innocent baby with an emotional support blanket, often ridiculed by his sister Lucy for his irrational fears but what everyone overlooks is the magnitude of philosophical depth that is his mind. For instance, when Charlie Brown is disappointed after losing the ‘Spell Bee’ contest, Linus comes in with the words of wisdom that probably every one need once in a while: ‘Well, I can understand how you feel. You worked hard, studying for the spelling bee, and I suppose you feel you let everyone down, and you made a fool of yourself and everything. But did you notice something, Charlie Brown?… The world didn’t come to an end.’
Donkey from ‘Shrek’ is considered to be the epitome of all things silly. And while he lives up to the stereotype on most occasions, there are times when his talkative self blurts out some gems that cannot be paralleled by any brainy Magi out there. For instance, Donkey is the only one who actually helps Shrek overcome his insecurities about being an ogre by reminding him that the world isn’t as bad as he makes it to be by this particular exchange:
Donkey : Hey, what’s your problem, Shrek, what you got against the whole world anyway, huh?
Shrek : Look, I’m not the one with the problem, okay? It’s the world that seems to have a problem with ME! People take one look at me and go “Aargh! Help! Run! A big stupid ugly ogre!” They judge me before they even know me – that’s why I’m better off alone…
Donkey : You know, Shrek… when we first met, I didn’t think you were a big, stupid, ugly ogre.
He also gives Shrek the required boost to declare the latter’s love for Fiona by encouraging him to wear his heart on the sleeve and not enclose himself in the various layers of fear and insecurity. Who knew a donkey was the catalyst to one of the most iconic romances in the world?
As for Dory who struggles with her memory and is often ridiculed for it, her whole take on not giving up by reminding Marlin that the only way to achieve something is to ‘Just Keep Swimming’ is literally the best advice anyone can give.
The Cool Cats.
Sometimes, wisdom can be found in the people who are shunned by society due to an unfortunate incident.
The reason I call these people ‘cool cats’ is because these people have no regrets and do not base their personality on what others think of them and lead solely by action. These are the kind of people that give the simplest of advice but their words are often the pillars of truth that carry the whole world.
Sirius Black, for instance literally spent twelve years in Azkaban for a crime he did not commit and even when he got out, a large number of people, including the likes of Molly Weasley and Professor Mcgonagall were sceptical about him being near his godson aka Harry Potter. But the one fact that no one could deny is that he was the only person who managed to soothe Harry in the time of war and actually help him overcome the loss of his parents by telling him that the ones who really love us, never really leave us and you can find them in your heart. Besides, he gave the one advice that literally sums up humanity in a nutshell;
Nick Fury is so much more than the reckless director of SHIELD as his superiors think he is. Despite all the opinions, he is the underrated backbone of the Avengers and when none of the superiors display a shilling’s worth of hope, he is the only one that boosts morale by saying that he still believes in heroes.
Nick Fury is often seen as a brash personality owing to his straightforward nature but this bluntness really hits home some of his best advice that no matter who wins or loses, trouble still comes around and the only way to overcome it is to stand up and deal with it.
Top marks for pep talks, right there.
This one is for the wise old relics who are considered to be the very pillars of wisdom.
The one thing that fascinates me about old people is that they can throw out wisdom like confetti while being the least savvy people ever, often plagued by old-age nuisances like the passing senility and the occasional hint of forgetfulness.
The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella for instance, is an old pro at all the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo despite the fact that she forgot where she left her wand. Apart from being Cinderella’s last minute miracle to dance with the Prince, one passing comment by the Fairy Godmother verifies the fact that old people have lived it all:
This really does wonders in conveying the fact that nothing happens instantly, not even miracles and that one needs to be patient for good things to come their way.
Lady Violet from Downton Abbey is often seen as a stickler for etiquette but in so many ways, she is the glue that holds her family together, right from sorting out the lifelong feud between her two granddaughters to keeping even the most scandalous secrets from destroying the family’s reputation. And in all her infinite wisdom, Lady Violet hasn’t been acquainted with the concept of a weekend when she asks her son, “Robert, what exactly is a ‘weekend’?”
Moving onto some grandpas, we’ve got Wilfred Mott from Doctor Who.
This man, despite being known for his eccentricity, manages to be a father figure for the Doctor himself and one of his lines that really made his wisdom shine is when he responds to the accusation that despite being in the military, he hasn’t killed a single man by saying that he did his duty and the fact that he didn’t shed a fellow human’s blood isn’t something that is shameful.
I like how this shows that humanity is not meant to kill and even in war, killing is never something to be proud of.
The Misunderstood Magi.
Thee folks are often the villains or the grey characters in fiction whose motives are certainly questionable but their wisdom often leads one to question whether these guys are truly evil or just misunderstood.
Severus Snape is seen as the epitome of bullying throughout the books but at the end, it is revealed that he had always been saving Harry’s life behind the curtain of bitterness. He may have been a prick owing to his gifted love for Lily Potter but at the end of the day, he died a hero which is all the assurance one needs of his heart.
Shere Khan is often seen as the bloodthirsty villain in ‘The Jungle Book’ but his cruelty arises from fear of man and his previous encounters with them. I feel his character is quite a mirror for present day when human beings selfishly claim the Earth to themselves without looking back at the damage caused on the fellow living beings. This fact hits home when Shere Khan asks ‘How many lives is a man cub worth?’
It really makes one reflect on the impact us humans leave on this world.
Villains, I often find, are quite a mirror to reality and their actions come with so much depth that it is often questionable who the bad guy really is.
And that is some wisdom to acquire.
And that is a wrap!
Until Next Time,