1. Ritrezer
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    Ritrezer Member

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    The Ideal Hero

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ritrezer, Apr 12, 2014.

    Well, hero's keep changing, from Hercules of Old times to Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen- the change is enormous. So, my question is- What would be YOUR ideal hero? What traits would he/she have? What kind of a hero would he/she be?
     
  2. James Joyce
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    James Joyce Member

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    my ideal hero is a man who respects himself and those around him; and the confidence he has in himself is only shown in his kindness to others. soft voice, big heart and ultimately a good person.

    another one would be a character with huge imperfections, but at least wants to do good. i feel that's the more interesting character.
     
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  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the 'hero' depends on the story being told.

    I have a SF series and a fantasy series. The main character, on some levels they each could be classified as a hero, but their personalities, how they deal with situations and conflict and people are different.

    What they do have in common is that they stand up and take significant risks (physical, emotional, societal) to do what they see as right, for the better good, not only for themselves but for people that they may not even know.
     
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  4. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Like @TWErvin2 said, it depends on the story; in my eyes, there's no universal hero mold, but I can give two examples of characters I've written:

    In my and @KaTrian's current WIP, my MC is a heroine in law enforcement; she's a bit of a starry-eyed do-gooder with naive dreams of helping people and saving the world, and a part of her character development is learning some of the harsher realities of life: she can't save those who don't want to be saved, and sometimes, despite her best intentions, she ends up doing more killing than saving due to the violent nature of her occupation.

    Of course, sometimes the two go hand in hand: she kills a bad guy and, in doing so, saves a good guy, but not everything is black and white, and she does end up making mistakes, even committing some unjust deeds (such as using too much force, resulting in the death of a person who wasn't really an immediate threat to her life).

    In another story of ours (we only have the first draft done), the one we'll start working on after finishing the current WIP, one of the MCs is a similar character, except, in a way, her polar opposite:first, she's younger (17 vs. 21), and since she lives in a medieval setting (the older heroine from our current WIP lives in the near future), she's had far less schooling, knows much less about the world (no internet, no google, no library in her hometown etc), and since she's a girl, her experiences have been more limited because of her sex than if she was a boy.

    While the 21yo of the current WIP is very calm, mellow, quite shy, even introverted, the 17yo of the next story is the exact opposite: she's brash, extroverted, even aggressive, easily angered etc, and despite and due to her limited life experience and knowledge, often thinks she knows best and is right even when she's wrong, so she gets into plenty of confrontations the 21yo character would have avoided by staying calm, listening to and considering the opinions of others, and preferring to talk her way out of situations instead of arguing aggressively and then resorting to violence.

    Both are disillusioned over the course of their stories, but in different ways: the 21yo will learn that even the best intentions don't always have the best results and that sometimes you have to do bad things to prevent worse things from happening, while the 17yo learns that violence isn't glorious, cool, or even much fun, and that being an adventuring heroine dedicated to righting wrongs can often result in wronging rights or making bad situations worse when her rather underdeveloped judgment fails her (yet again), endangering her life as well as those of others (friends and foes alike).

    But both characters fall into the category of the "classic hero," at least in my opinion, since both have good intentions at heart, they are (largely) unselfish, and set out to make the world a better place (albeit in different ways and with vastly different methods), regardless of whether the end result is for better or worse.
     
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  5. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    I don't really relate to the upstanding, morally righteous type at all! I'm much more of an anti-hero person.
    I tend to gravitate toward the Lokis rather than the Thors.
    So, when there's a protagonist that's as flawed, selfish and manipulative as most people really are, I can connect. It's not about being a 'good person' so much as what you can overcome that makes a hero for me. Someone that only wants to save their own ass but ends up caring enough to risk their own life, that's a journey worth embarking on with them :)
     
  6. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm old fashioned. Loyalty to those loyal to him/her and always ready to whatever has to be done. Doesn't have to be kind or even very nice. The term "hero" has been cheapened these day, and anyone who does something the slightest bit dangerous gets called a hero.
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    For me, a hero is the following:
    He/she can admit when they are wrong, even if it takes them a while. They don't always do what's best for them but they do what they think's best for others. They are not perfect, and they know they are not perfect. They are not immune to things, they have a weakness that can be exploited.
    And lastly, they accept who they are.
     
  8. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm the same :) That's also what's so funny about writing together with @T.Trian, as he likes the goody-two-shoe type (with an appropriate amount of flaws to make them realistic) while I tend to like tragic heroes, yet somehow we manage to throw them all into the same pot...

    To me a hero is someone who's resilient, appropriately selfish and willing to take risks to achieve something they deem worth saving or fighting for.

    I do not like reluctant heroes. They're the worst and piss me off big time. Not saying they couldn't be done well, I've enjoyed the quests of a few reluctant heroes, but mostly they just really get on my nerves.
     
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  9. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Hmm, define reluctant hero. One who stays reluctant throughout the story? One who only reluctantly accepts their calling?
     
  10. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    Captain Picard.

    Evidence of his greatness:


    If only world leaders would watch this video...
     
  11. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    THIS. I love reading these types of characters...unfortunately I struggle with writing them.
     
  12. Ritrezer
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    Ritrezer Member

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    You just read my mind, that is truly favorite type as well, either from good-to bad change which is fun or the more fun one- the anti-hero to good guy. Artemis Fowl is a good example, have you heard of it?
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2014
  13. Ritrezer
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    That's really interesting! It is definitely good.
    At the moment, I'm writing a Fantasy book based on Dragon Riders of Urban times,(They've been there all along! type thing)
     
  14. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Reluctant Hero

    The type within the type that I personally dislike is some kid who's told (sometimes by a beautiful woman) he's important and has powers and will one day save the world, but he just wants to continue spading his precious potato patch. They are less cool than anti-heroes, though some anti-heroes also showcase this trait, but the cooler ones don't get whiny about it, they just curse foully and get the job done.
     
  15. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Ah, I see. with you on that one @KaTrian !
     
  16. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Heard of it but haven't read. You'd recommend?
     
  17. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Weeell... yeah, I like characters who tend to be a tad more goody-two-shoes than yours, at least they're generally a bit kinder towards other characters, I'll give you that, but mine still tend to have a higher bodycount regardless, so I'm not entirely convinced they're always the "nicer" characters in every sense of the word. :D

    And that's not to say that I don't like anti-heroes. One of my all-time-favorite characters I've written was a psychopathic (unable to feel compassion, remorse, shame etc) sniper / serial killer (or is mass murderer the proper term? I'm not sure).
    What I tried to do with her was to write a character the reader ought to dislike by default, for what she was, but somehow still make her sympathetic, kinda like luring the reader into agreeing with the character only to snap out of it at some point with the realization "wait a minute... I'm agreeing with a person who kills for fun!" That was an interesting experiment.


    I hate them too. I mean the hero type who learn that they are the Chosen One (of whatever), a wizard, witch, a hero(ine) destined for greatness or to rule the world, or some such, and they act as if it's the biggest tragedy in the history of mankind and they so do not want all these amazing powers, they don't want to embark on a magical, once-in-a-lifetime quest etc. while pretty much every person I've discussed this with IRL, guys and girls alike, if faced with that kind of a situation, would jump in head-first with a loud and resounding "fuck yeah! Screw normal life, bring on the damn adventure already!"

    I mean, I have no idea why characters so often have to act so fucking reluctant when they e.g. learn they have magic powers or some such. At least Harry Potter rolled with the punches... It's almost as if it's some kind of a(n industry) standard response, kinda like how every time an unconscious person wakes up on TV, they almost always cough, even if they wake up from having gotten electrocuted, punched out, or some such.


    ETA: @KaTrian, she was a serial killer. I looked it up: mass murderers tend to kill a lot of people at once or within a short time period whereas her "spree" lasted months.
     
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  18. Ritrezer
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    Ritrezer Member

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    @AlannaHart Yup, definitely. It's about a boy genius criminal mastermind who tries to restore his family's wealth by criminal activities.....and he's 12 when he does it. It's a series of 8 books, highly successful. It's a mind over body kind of hero, who doesn't go physical, more of beat you with his intelligence and plans type of guy.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I wasn't sure what the OP was actually asking at first - is this about the most heroic (bravest, noblest, etc.) characters, or the most interesting to have as a main character? It seems everyone is answering as if it's the latter.

    As for most heroic, Jean-Luc Picard is up there. Highly intelligent, extremely competent, wise, benevolent, compassionate, and cares deeply for his crew. This guy's about as heroic as it gets.

    Also, there's Atreyu from The NeverEnding Story. He's just a boy, but he's got amazing courage and confidence in himself - anybody would be proud to have him as a son, but he's not the kind of character you can build your story around. He doesn't have an arc - you just know he's perfect at the beginning and he'll be perfect to the very end.

    I think my favorite "heroes" - I'm talking about interesting characters now, not perfect people - are those with talent that takes them far, but who screw up. Elvis Presley comes to mind. A great rock singer who became the biggest individual star in the world, but he couldn't hold it together and wound up destroying himself. He's a fascinating character to me - I'd love to write a novel based on someone like him.

    I also have to say I've become interested in the James Bond movies since Daniel Craig took over the role. His Bond is different from the previous incarnations. Somehow, Craig shows me a character who is grimly determined to do his job - to save the world every mission - but it seems to cost him a great deal emotionally. I never had that sense from previous Bonds. Daniel Craig can put on this exhausted, hollow-eyed expression that makes me think he's shattered inside and that it's taking all he's got to pull himself together to go out and face the bad guys again. I think Roger Moore's Bond, when he retired, just put on a tuxedo and lived the good life in Monte Carlo without a care in the world; Craig's Bond, when he retires, will sit in a cheap, dimly-lit hotel room with a bottle of vodka and some very bad memories.

    One thing I don't like is a stupid main character. I mean a character who is not intellectually capable of understanding what's happening to him at all, so his fate is out of his hands. I can't think of any off the top of my head, but I've occasionally read about them and seen them on TV - characters who's worlds are coming apart and they don't know why or how they can stop it. It just happens, and at the end they're just standing around saying "Huh. Things used to be better."

    These are the thoughts I have on this question this morning. I might have more later.
     
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  20. Glen Snow
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    Ideal heroes? For me it's The Doctor and Jaime Lannister. Two men who couldn't really be anymore different. The Doctor is selfless in his defense of life.Immediately helping those in need, even archenemies like the Daleks. His flaw would be his morality and his sense if an unpayed debt.
    {Mild Game of Thrones Spoilers Below!}
    Jaime on the other hand, the left hand, pays his debts swiftly and violently. He is painted as an antagonist in the beginning what with the incest and helping Bran become the first northern base jumper. The second book is no kinder to the kingslayer. It isn't until the third book that we finally see things from his point of view. While the sister banging is still a point against him, but he was willing to sacrifice his honor and quite possibly his life to save Kingslanding from the Mad King. He also is trying his best to hold up his end of the bargain with Lady Stark.
    {Spoilers End Here!}
    To me these two are the best example of the gamut heroes run from the paragon of justice and good to the man with a good heart hidden deep within the armor of a villain.
     
  21. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I like heros like the people in the Bible - God always picked flawed but faithful people to let everyone know they weren't coasting on worldly attributes - physical beauty, strength, position. They always seemed like average people whose faith lead them to do amazing things. So for me I like the kind of bewildered - Who me? hero.
     
  22. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    I dunno, once you have the omnipotent master of the universe at your back are you really a "normal" person anymore?
     
  23. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I like powerful and competent heroes with a great personality that struggle not against great odds but against others of equal abilities. For example, I do not want to see men struggle against Gods. I want to see Gods versus Gods, and both have equal abilities and intellect. I do not exactly demand flawless heroes, but heroes with too many flaws are boring. By great personality I mean one who is usually calm, collected, adaptive, and generally suave. I generally prefer someone who is not so idealistic either, but some of it is not so bad. Oh, and preferably not adolescents.
     
  24. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Since I've jumped up and down the heroic spectrum with my various protags, I'll say they all share a common theme of having an almost unbreakable will to do the one thing they feel is right. But I feel a hero should simply be able to lay down their lives to protect those who can't protect themselves. Also they should always grow in some way by story's end, there's no point in taking the journey if there's no payoff for both of us.
     
  25. Smoke Z
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    I'm not sure which category of hero I like, but I am not a fan of Boyscout types. They're all eager to do the right thing because it's the right thing and do it in the most politically correct way as possible.

    Superman seems to do good just because he was raised right and he has powers. Batman is doing it for selfish reasons. Spiderman falls in the middle where he doesn't want to see what happens when he doesn't do good.

    Then again, Captain Picard sounds like a boyscout type and he rocks. Maybe it's because his motivation is to be worthy of being a leader?

    I think the Reluctant Hero could work if it's a grumpy old man. But then again, I could see him tapping some wide-eyed idiot to do the really exciting parts.

    One of my favorite characters is probably a reluctant hero for the better part of his journey. His adventure was to figure out why his potato patch is a radioactive crater.


    Are you talking about Inspector Gadget?
     

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