My hero is a fictional character in the book The Stand by Stephen King. Nick Andros is a 22-year-old deaf and dumb drifter who has a tremendous character arc through the apocalyptic events of the novel. He is a tremendous leader despite his obvious shortcomings. It is perhaps his shortcomings that make him so strong and empathetic. I am so drawn to Andros because of his empathy which he never gets to express vocally, but through actions. Because he is one of the narrators of the book, the reader gets to understand how he interprets the people around him.
Nick has so many challenges throughout the story. The first of which is watching those who befriended him die of the plague while he remains healthy (being immune). He also gets taken advantage of during society’s collapse- being mugged and beaten by thugs.
He also has to take on leadership roles despite being unprepared- when the sheriff of the town he was residing in dies of the plague, he had to take the position to maintain order. Throughout the book, he constantly takes on new leadership roles. He is particularly understanding of one character: Tom Cullen, who is mentally handicapped. Since Tom couldn’t read and Nick couldn’t speak, the two couldn’t even properly communicate, yet they became close friends due to Nick’s compassion in taking care of Tom and leading him to safety. Tom Cullen became a purpose for Nick to keep soldiering through the apocalypse.
Andros’s death in the novel is even heroic- as he takes the brunt of an assassination attempt. Even after his death, he continues to play a role in helping people as he visits his friend Tom in spirit instructing him on what medication will save another badly wounded character’s life.