Came upstairs to find Gray watching Jackie Chan’s Forbidden Kingdom and whilst it’s all very action packed, the moment the young protagonist looked in danger my first response wasn’t “Oh no he’s going to be killed!” it was sighing knowing full well that he was going to be perfectly fine and that the bad guy would be defeated. There was the obligatory sacrifice made by female companion in defeating said bad guy but it’s all so very predictable. To be honest I can’t think of a single fantasy film I’ve seen where the hero doesn’t win even if it comes at great cost. I half wonder whether it’s because people just won’t accept a story where the bad guy wins or the status quo remains. The only time I’ve seen wanton slaughtering of good guys is in Game of Thrones but when it comes to the final pages of A Song of Fire and Ice, is George R R Martin going to fall back on the cliché that good will always conquer bad? If the villain did win or the status quo remained, would the story feel somehow incomplete and unresolved? Maybe the hero winning is hard wired into our expectations and when it comes to fiction we can’t accept a story where good will not out, despite the fact that in real life that just doesn’t happen. Perhaps because it doesn’t happen in real life, we need it to happen fictitiously.
Edit: Contemplating it further whilst in the shower, I think that there must be some extent of hard wiring. When you consider religions and myths, good triumphing over evil is a huge focus irrespective of where in the world the religions/myths originate. Interesting.