For today, Thor’s Day, I have decided to discuss what I’m going to call a “Thorean” hero. My standards for such a character involve: being a savior figure (examples include Thor, Heracles, etc.), one who has no regard for the odds (considering ragnarok), and one who doesn’t quite fit into society. Now, I’ve been following the debate in regards to Beast Wars between David Willis and Tom Croom/Joey Snackpants, and I felt compelled to talk about a figure from that show that was very impressive. Yes, I am talking about Dinobot, who was just inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame.
First I will say that I did enjoy Beast Wars, but that isn’t the purpose of this article. This article is specifically talking about why Dinobot is a very well developed character and a hero (though this does reflect well on the show and its writer).
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Dinobot is his Byronic nature. Now obviously one cannot, or at least should not, have a true Byronic hero in a children’s program (what with the sexual nature), but otherwise he meets all the criteria; he is intelligent, a social outcast, lives by his moral code and not societies, and he has a dark and mysterious past. It is these elements in a character that makes him so interesting. Dinobot was not your usual cookie-cutter hero, and his reasons for his choices were fascinating.
The best aspect of Dinobot, however, was his attitude towards his cause. Dinobot was one of the very few Transformers who never got weapons/armor upgrade (while he had control of his spark that is), but he never let that slow him down, and in fact seemed to take that as a challenge to hone his own personal skills. He also never wavered on his morals, specifically honor. He was a character that children really couldn’t relate to, but he is still just as enjoyable to experience.
The true “Thorean” aspect of Dinobot comes specifically when he single-handedly and sacrificially saves the human race. Without hesitation, knowing it will mean his death, Dinobot gives everything for the cause. He fights heroically and refuses to give up no matter how difficult the odds. It is through this sacrifice, like a true Byronic hero, that Dinobot finds redemption (and potentially at the end of the series). The only death that is more moving is perhaps the death of Optimus Prime in the original animated movie (and his too was so powerful because it was sacrificial, but Prime’s was not redemptive). Just as Thor falls in Ragnarok, with full knowledge how he will die beforehand, so too does Dinobot meet his death.
This is also why Dinobot deserved to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. His character is one full of flaws, but through his broken nature he perseveres and finally finds a way to fulfill both his own code, honor, and the calling of society.