Heroes and Villains: Part One

Heroes

As November creeps ever closer, I find myself wondering what story I shall be working on next in the annual event known as NaNoWriMo.

That in turn has lead me to reexamine characters, and heroes and villains in general.

What makes a hero and what makes a villain?

Well, heroes are the ones who save the day right? They defeat the bad guys, they survive the battle… they’re the winners!

And the villains, well, they are the ones who obviously destroy everything. They are evil, and only want money or power, and don’t care about anybody but themselves!

But in today’s world, and the literature of this generation, is that always the case?

Mostly, yes. However, in some books, it isn’t quite that easy.

So many people are blurring the lines in stories, it is always getting a little harder to tell who is the hero, and who is the villain.

I mean, it’s always obvious who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist.
But is the protagonist a hero?

Now, according to merriem-Webster dictionary a hero is the following.

Hero

: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities

: a person who is greatly admired

: the chief male character in a story, play, movie, etc.
plural heβ€’roes

Full Definition of HERO

1
a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
b : an illustrious warrior
c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
d : one who shows great courage

2
a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work
b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement

Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist in the Hunger Games, but is she a hero?
Tris is the protagonist of Divergent, but is she a hero?
Bella, Jacob, and Edward are the protagonists of Twilight, but are they heroes?
Eragon is the protagonist of the Inheritance Cycle, but is he a hero?

In many ways, yes, at least some of these characters are heroes.

But think about it.

A hero, in the eyes of a children, is Superman saving the world from Luther. A hero is the Doctor, sacrificing himself to save whole planets. A hero is St. Joan of Arc riding into battle to save France.
Heroes are people who rise to the occasion when they find themselves in impossible situations. They sacrifice so much, with so little thanks in return. Heroes give up everything, save everybody (well, almost everybody) and sometimes, they don’t have any reason to.
The Doctor doesn’t have to keep saving earth time and again. it’s not his home planet.
Batman doesn’t have to save Gotham.
And Joan of Arc didn’t have to ride off to crown the Dauphin.
But they DID, or still DO!

That, in my personal opinion, is what makes a hero.
Someone who gives up everything to save someone or something when they have no real reason to at all.
A hero.

Disclaimer: I am not saying I don’t think Katniss, Tris, and Eragon aren’t heroes in their own right. Those are three of my most favorite characters ever, I was just using them as examples, and asking you to rethink over what ever position you held them in.
For Twilight characters, there is absolutely no question. ;-P

This post was about the modern day book heroes to make a point.
Leave a comment bellow on who your all-time favorite heroes are.
They may end up listed in a another post sometime πŸ˜‰

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12 comments

  1. Hehe, well, if you put it that way, I certainly think most of the Avengers are heroes, especially Captain America. But I agree that the lines are blurring in quite a few books and movies.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. It’s sad how in YA fiction now, you really have to look to find series with actual heroes in them that one can actually look up to as role models, rather then just main characters and protagonists who make an interesting story.

  2. I think this is such an interesting post. It’s true that it’s difficult to figure out who is the real hero. We know who the protagonist is in any story, but I believe a hero is made up through their MOTIVES in addition to their actions.

    You used Batman as an example…I love Batman and I see him as a hero. However, why did he become Batman in the first place? It was because he wanted revenge on his parents’ deaths. He wanted to get rid of evil in Gotham City. If his parents didn’t die, he would have just been a normal citizen.

    Despite how much I love Batman, I guess you could say that he could easily slip up and become a villain. He was a vigilante, which is in the middle of hero and villain. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thank you so much.
      And I agree with your assessment of batman. He could be a villain, it’s in him, and that’s where he was headed when he started. But it’s the fact that he doesn’t, and instead protects and defends that makes him a hero.
      Vigilantes are always interesting characters. Posed right on the edge between the two sides, and yet often it’s how they refuse to lean to the one side, that makes them a member of the other.

  3. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout
    out and tell you I really enjoy reading through
    your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi! Well thank you, and I’m glad to hear from you!

      For writing there couldn’t be better sources then Liam at liamwood.org and Erin at erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com.
      Their blogs are a great source of tips and ideas. πŸ™‚
      If you a Marvel fan, http://www.yavengers.com/ is another great writing source

      What other topics are interested in finding blogs on?

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