I think that there needs to be a moratorium on "The Chosen One" or "The One" for about a decade.
Sure, you can have a hero who has any number of heroic traits. But let's skip the blahblahblah about how he was prophecied to appear in the darkest hour, etc., OK? He just showed up without warning - is that not dramatic enough?
I will give an exception to the "Tales of Symphonia" game, where there actually is a valid, plot-driven reason, why two cultures designate unfortunate individuals as competing "Chosen Ones". But if the prophecy could just as easily be dispensed with, dispense with it.
But, but, without a prophecy, the author wouldn't have an excuse to write bad poetry!
Exactly! Usually those riddles or prophecies turn out to be rather lame. I've never understood why, if the prophet was supposedly on your side and trying to help, s/he would speak in riddles anyway. Why not just say, "Dude, it's you
, but if you don't learn how to defend yourself, a lot of good people are going to die looking after you before you can do your mystical thing. So start training already."
And, in the things I've read anyway, there's sometimes forced ambiguity about who the Chosen One is, maybe even specific other people that it could
be... Except you're 99% sure it's the main character, and in the end, it is. I don't think it's a spoiler by this point to say that Harry Potter was indeed the Chosen One, for example, but I thought it would have been awesome if, at the very end, it turned out to be another character, who fit all the criteria of the prophecy, surprising the heck out of everyone. Which would certainly not have negated Harry's contributions to that world at all, I don't think. I saw something similar in another popular tween book series that I just finished reading--kept hoping maybe it would turn out the main character wasn't the Chosen One after all, and then he was.