Odds

When I was younger, I was always bothered how heroes would always win by the skin of their neck and against some unfathomably large odds. I wouldn’t believe that in a hundred books where the hero has a one in a hundred chance of survival, they would always live.
But that isn’t the point of storytelling. Just because something is unlikely, it is still possible. The reason the hero never gets hit by gunfire or never roles below a perfect 20 is because that is the story we are telling. Sure, we could tell the story where the hero dies at a certain point, but we can also tell the story where that doesn’t happen. So long as something is within the realm of possibility, it makes sense to tell the story of the person who breaks through those possibilities rather than the one who doesn’t. If we’re telling a story about a person who won the lottery, it’s okay if they only bought one ticket. Even though it’s incredibly unlikely, we as people are interested in the stories about people winning the lottery rather than the people who didn’t. So it makes sense that we would tell the story about the man or woman who won the lottery, or beat a dragon where they had a one in a million chance of survival or was able to destroy every asteroid against all odds or whatever. It as an individual event is unlikely, but because it is in the contextual realm of possibility and gives the most narrative interest, it is okay to tell the story.

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