I just finished a book, Discord's Apple, by Carrie Vaughn. Without writing any big spoilers, let me say that she made some religious assertions in the story with which I could never agree, but one part of the plot made me ache with longing. King Arthur returned. (Though he is not the main focus of the story.)
It took me quite a while to figure out why I longed so much for the return of a mythical King. It's not like I knew the guy, though the character was written well enough to make me feel as though I did. After some soul-searching, I found that I've been falling into our collective despair, praying that God would send someone, anyone, to deliver us from troubled times. Why not Arthur? He's cool and has a sword forged from pure awesome.
As I think on it longer, no matter how seductive the concept of an invincible crusader for righteousness may be, it's really a fool's errand. The world doesn't change when a hero slays its dragons. It changes when those who've had enough stand up and make it change. Personally, I'd rather slay the dragon. It may try to rip one's head from one's shoulders and vivisect one's liver, but it won't play games with a person's life, toy around with nukes, or profit from the deaths of millions. With a dragon, the battle is over as soon as it's dead. Real change requires years of shouting upon thousands of deaf ears before even a few minds are changed.
Is that why we write speculative fiction? To better a world of our own creation the only way we know how? Are we taking the easy way out? If only a certain someone, and I'm not talking about Arthur, would return and allow us to escape our responsibilities to the world.
I want to effect change, but I doubt my ability to do so. I pray that someday I can be effective. Somehow.