I've long since put this literature away in favor of non-fiction. All of the most memorable, like Tolkien and Howard, were essentially tales of individual ascendancy through a deliberate or sometimes fortunate process of overcoming great adversity.
Meek country bumpkin Bilbo ends up an armored war hero and political conspirator. Dirty face slave boy Conan ends up High King of Aquilonia. Drizzt the dark elf transforms from obedient, lowly whipped male to unbeatable swordmaster and peerless tracker.
No pain, no gain
That which does not kill me makes me stronger