9
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Oh woe is he! How cruel is fate!
He pouts and mopes in this hour late.
The subject of some cruel god's whim;
Death the gods have in store for him.

Suddenly a beast of legend!
Our hero's sentence swift deadened.
As it roars, he recovers. Run!
Before his hide, as well, is done.

Fleeing there, to the city pale;
News for the king, no time to fail.
With men and arms they slay the beast.
Huzzah! Huzzah! Now time to feast.

What is this feeling now unleashed?
Some kind of bond 'twixt him and beast.
He feels altered, not quite the same.
The men surround him, call him names.

All at once, the skies asunder.
A booming voice cracks like thunder.
Illusion? No: a beckoning;
to mountain high 'ere reckoning.

From here does his adventure start;
Wisdom, cunning,and strength in part.
Though truly only one of those
This hero of our story chose.

Can you tell what this ode is describing? Who is the hero? The accepted answer will, as always, contain explanations of the clues in the story. This is a decently easy riddle regarding a fairly well-known hero, but I've marked it trivia since it is recounting a story that some may not be familiar with.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is this hero necessarily one of fiction, or could he be real? $\endgroup$ – Moose Aug 11 '15 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Moose: Our hero is certainly fictional. $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 11 '15 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ Dang, I was thinking Gilgamesh. $\endgroup$ – Doge Aug 11 '15 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ I will say that you guys are thinking along the wrong lines. The story of this hero is infantile compared to the age of those you have mentioned. $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 11 '15 at 19:16
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The hero is

The player character (or Dragonborn) in Skyrim

Oh woe is he! How cruel is fate!
He pouts and mopes in this hour late.
The subject of some cruel god's whim;
Death the gods have in store for him.

At the start of the game the hero is on their way to be executed

Suddenly a beast of legend!
Our hero's sentence swift deadened.
As it roars, he recovers. Run!
Before his hide, as well, is done.

But their execution is inturrupted by a dragon and the hero escapes

Fleeing there, to the city pale;
News for the king, no time to fail.
With men and arms they slay the beast.
Huzzah! Huzzah! Now time to feast.

The hero flees to Whiterun (city pale) to tell the Jarl (or king) of the dragon attack, and eventually slays a dragon.

What is this feeling now unleashed?
Some kind of bond 'twixt him and beast.
He feels altered, not quite the same.
The men surround him, call him names.

The hero gains powers from killing the dragon, and becomes known as a Dragonborn

All at once, the skies asunder.
A booming voice cracks like thunder.
Illusion? No: a beckoning;
to mountain high 'ere reckoning.

The hero is summoned to a mountain to learn about the nature of their powers

From here does his adventure start;
Wisdom, cunning,and strength in part.
Though truly only one of those
This hero of our story chose.

And the game unfolds from there, with the player upgrading three basic attributes as they progress. At the start of the game the player chooses a blessing from the god of wisdom, cunning or strength.

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  • $\begingroup$ D'OH! Just spent the last half hour writing up my own answer. There is no doubt this response is the correct one $\endgroup$ – dennisdeems Aug 11 '15 at 23:02
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    $\begingroup$ I would tend to agree with dennis that this seems to be the correct answer. It's unfair because I've never played Skyrim :S $\endgroup$ – Moose Aug 12 '15 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ That was ultimately why I added the trivia tag: while a very popular game, it is just that. I couldn't think of a way to get at that without revealing that it was a video game. Sorry you couldn't get it @Moose $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 12 '15 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ @NeedAName lol it's okay. I had a valiant effort in my own right $\endgroup$ – Moose Aug 12 '15 at 13:22
3
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Could the hero be

Bilbo Baggins

Oh woe is he! How cruel is fate!
He pouts and mopes in this hour late.
The subject of some cruel god's whim;
Death the gods have in store for him.

Bilbo Baggins resents being chosen by Gandalf as a member of his crew. He wants nothing to do with adventure, and would much rather just enjoy a cup of tea and a book. He believes that the gods really want him dead.

Suddenly a beast of legend!
Our hero's sentence swift deadened.
As it roars, he recovers. Run!
Before his hide, as well, is done.

He meets Smaug, the dragon. Bilbo takes a golden chalice, enraging Smaugh. He runs away (as Smaug roars) to avoid his hide being burnt to a crisp (or a nice well-done).

Fleeing there, to the city pale;
News for the king, no time to fail.
With men and arms they slay the beast.
Huzzah! Huzzah! Now time to feast.

He then flees to Lake Town to let Thorin Oakenshield know of the dragon's attack and his weak spot. The human archer Bard succeeds in killing Smaug; when the men and elves want a share of the treasure, the dwarves refuse. The humans and elves besiege the mountain. However, the goblins and Wargs march on the mountain, so the dwarves team up with the humans and elves to defend their treasure.

What is this feeling now unleashed?
Some kind of bond 'twixt him and beast.
He feels altered, not quite the same.
The men surround him, call him names.

When Bilbo returns to the Shire, he is outcast by the other hobbits. He traded the respect of his peers for the wisdom of his travels, and he now prefers to talk to wizards

All at once, the skies asunder.
A booming voice cracks like thunder.
Illusion? No: a beckoning;
to mountain high 'ere reckoning.

Unsure; will come back to this later.

From here does his adventure start;
Wisdom, cunning,and strength in part.
Though truly only one of those
This hero of our story chose.

Bilbo is wise, shown by his attempts to resolve the tension between the dwarves and the humans/elves. He is cunning, shown by his riddle-solving abilities when encountering Gollum and his ability to get the party away from the trolls. He is strong (in part) in his ability to rescue his party from the goblins. However, he chose wisdom in the end, when he returned to Hobbiton as a wise old hobbit-man-thing.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm tempted to simply give it to you @Moose for finding so many tales that--to varying degrees--fit the bill. in this one you are the closest, particularly regarding the beast. I practically like it more than my original intention. The world of this story has much in common with Tolkien's. $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 11 '15 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ The correct answer wouldn't happen to be related to Puzzling's most well-known user, would it? $\endgroup$ – Moose Aug 11 '15 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ It depends: who would that be? $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 11 '15 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ Why, Mr. Rand Al-thor himself! $\endgroup$ – Moose Aug 11 '15 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know much about that series, but based on a quick skim of the character, you are getting closer. I almost misread rand's name in the series as the name of this hero (referred to in line 16 of the ode). $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 11 '15 at 20:42
2
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The hero is

Bellerophon

Oh woe is he! How cruel is fate! He pouts and mopes in this hour late.

After his failed attempt to climb Mount Olympus, he spent the rest of his life a blinded hermit, wandering on the Plain of Wandering (original, I know). "This hour late" refers to the twilight of his life. His fate is cruel because he was a massive hero reduced to nothing.

The subject of some cruel god's whim;
Death the gods have in store for him.

Bellerophon was sent by King Proteus of Tyrins to King Iobates of Lycia to die. Iobates feared the wrath of the gods for breaking the Greek laws of hospitality which forbade him from killing a guest, so he sent Bellerophon on an impossible quest: defeat the Chimera. After defeating the Chimera, Bellerophon did not receive credit from the king. Afterwards, he was sent on even more quests, most of which were intended to kill him.

Suddenly a beast of legend!
Our hero's sentence swift deadened.

This is the Chimera, a beast of legend that breathes fire. He managed to defeat the Chimera by putting a block of lead in its throat; the Chimera's fire-breath melted the lead and then it solidified, blocking the passage of air.

As it roars, he recovers. Run!
Before his hide, as well, is done.

When he first tried to attack the Chimera, he couldn't get close enough to damage it, even riding on top of Pegasus. The Chimera's fire-breath will literally cook Bellerophon's hide (and make it well-done!)

Fleeing there, to the city pale;
News for the king, no time to fail.
With men and arms they slay the beast.
Huzzah! Huzzah! Now time to feast.

After defeating the Chimera, Bellerophon went to King Iobates with the news.

What is this feeling now unleashed?
Some kind of bond 'twixt him and beast.
He feels altered, not quite the same.
The men surround him, call him names.

Bellerophon tamed Pegasus, and the two created a bond, as rider and noble steed.

All at once, the skies asunder. A booming voice cracks like thunder. Illusion? No: a beckoning; to mountain high 'ere reckoning.

Bellerophon believed that his fame gave him cause to ascend Mount Olympus. He believed that Zeus called to him, beckoning to ascend to the top of the mountain, where only the gods and their servants lived. Zeus sent a horsefly to bite Pegasus, causing Bellerophon to fall down and be injured for life.

From here does his adventure start; Wisdom, cunning,and strength in part. Though truly only one of those This hero of our story chose.

Bellerophon showed wisdom and cunning in his ability to tame Pegasus, defeat the Chimera, and vanquish the Solymi and Amazons (he dropped boulders on them from Pegasus). He showed strength when he prevented an ambush by the pirate Cheirmarrhus and defeating palace guards sent against him. However, he abandoned wisdom and cunning when he attempted to ascend Mount Olympus.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm afraid this is incorrect. This story sounds interesting, however; I'm going to have to read about it. $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Aug 11 '15 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Aw man, I had just finished explaining every clue! $\endgroup$ – Moose Aug 11 '15 at 18:51
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Thinking along the lines of infantile, the hero is

Sétanta, the name given to the young Cú Chulainn.

Oh woe is he! How cruel is fate!
He pouts and mopes in this hour late.
The subject of some cruel god's whim;
Death the gods have in store for him.

It was prophesied that Sétanta's great deeds would bring him fame, but he would live a short life. The king of Ulster grieves for him learning this.

Suddenly a beast of legend!
Our hero's sentence swift deadened.
As it roars, he recovers. Run!
Before his hide, as well, is done.

As Sétanta is playing with some boys, Culann the smith forgets that he let out his hound to protect his house. He tries to flee from the hound.

Fleeing there, to the city pale;
News for the king, no time to fail.
With men and arms they slay the beast.
Huzzah! Huzzah! Now time to feast.

Before Sétanta joins the king for a feast, Sétanta kills the hound in self defence and Culann grieves for his dead hound.

What is this feeling now unleashed?
Some kind of bond 'twixt him and beast.
He feels altered, not quite the same.
The men surround him, call him names.

Sétanta then promises to be the hound's replacement, and he gets the name Cú Chulainn, the Hound of Culann.

All at once, the skies asunder.
A booming voice cracks like thunder.
Illusion? No: a beckoning;
to mountain high 'ere reckoning.

Not sure right now.

From here does his adventure start;
Wisdom, cunning,and strength in part.
Though truly only one of those
This hero of our story chose.

Sétanta followed the path of strength, effortlessly defeating his foes but died an early death.

Kinda flimsy, but it's what came to mind after NeedAName's comment.

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