1. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    What makes a Great hero, great?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lord Malum, May 21, 2011.

    Same thing as the "What makes a Great villain, great?" thread, but for heroes/heroines.

    Personally, I like determination and loyalty, but they can't be like the old Superman. Too perfect and they're two dimensional. A great hero/heroine needs a flaw that holds him/her back from their goal, but overcomes it to acheive the seemingly impossible.
     
  2. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    I never find heroes great, on the opposite, they're boring...antiheroes or common people are more fun.
     
  3. jo3bo
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    jo3bo Member

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    Whilst I also have trouble creating heroic characters, I think the problem arises when you try to actually come up with a profile that encompasses all heroes. Your hero will be specific to the story and characterization that you give him, but I never base my characters on the definition of a "good" hero. I find doing so churns out, as you say, two dimensional characters. However, I also think that the obstacle to be overcome set up can turn out somewhat predictable. I'm sorry that I cannot give you a more helpful answer but I honestly believe that if you're going to create a truly unique and intruiging character then you're going to need avoid the cliches that heroes can become.
     
  4. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    What makes a great hero?

    His imperfections.
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    What makes a hero great is also a matter of fashion.

    In medieval Europe, the tragic heroes were the greatest. Heroes who, often because of a personal flaw they couldn't overcome, were doomed to eventually fail.
    During the romantic period, heroes were supposed to be nice and even a little naive.
    During the industrialisation, heroes were supposed to be rational and in control of their emotions.
    Until the middle of the 20th century, heroes used to be tough and strong-willed, but yet sophisticated.
    In the latter half of the 20th century, heroes with ordinary, everyday flaws became popular.

    This is somewhat simplified, of course, but the hero ideal changes a lot with fashion and the ideals of society in general.
     
  6. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I'd say the anti-hero is the best, for the very reason of having many flaws. I'd also say a hero that is indistuinghuisable from the villain except that he's telling the story morality wise, but that's only for cases with an anti-villain as the villain.
     
  7. mootz
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    mootz Member

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    Situation, limitations, obstacles and character.

    I think its important to have a good balance of these things. Iron man fighting in medieval Europe isn't exactly heroic its haxxed and ruins the experience. To me the Hero is shaped like a glove into the story, especially if he is the main character of the story.
     
  8. SerenaYasha
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    SerenaYasha Member

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    LIke what most poeple have said is the hero's imperfections

    also what the hero may have to give up to reach thier goal. example ive upthier dream life or bein with thier lover for the greater good of the poeple.

    i admire batman, he was a normal uy with a lot of money but it used it to help others. i never read about him having his own family ( though i only watch the animated seirse when i was younger)

    so one who a reader can relate too, who is not prefect and has to work hard to get where they need to be, breaking sterotypes about thier type of person.

    I don't like the whole getting strong as thier fight like in bleach or other shounen animes. i prefer to have the hero fall down but find a way to pick themselves up even if they have to yell at them selves ( have you ever had to fight with yourself to do something it's iratting)

    most of all i would LOVE to see more female hero who kick ass, not the kick but until love interst step in then he has to do the work, nor do i want the kick has heroine to dress that closer to whore side, i want a kickass female fighter who dress like a respetable person would. she can have her weak moment like any hero but still kick asswhen needed.
     
  9. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never thought about this before.

    But now it's in my head here goes:

    I suppose it is, the situation they are in and how they deal with it.

    A great hero does not need to be an action man, out slaying dragons or single-handed save the world, a true hero can be far more simple than that.

    A hero can be someone that is still there when all the others have fled. Someone that has the guts to stand by the underdog, would be a hero in my eyes.

    Is it necessary for them to have flaws?
    As it is with any character, it is good for them to be well thought out and true to life, and if a flaw or two will help to capture the readers attention and hold it, then flaws it is.
     
  10. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    What makes a Great hero great? A Great villain. And by great here, I meant a completely-deranged, psychopathic villain, dripping evil from every pore, leaving behind a trail of slime, mutilated bodies, and broken minds.

    Nor do I believe the hero needs a flaw. What he needs is internal conflict. The simplest of which is duty vs fear. Will he do his duty and confront the villain or give in to his fear and flee?
     
  11. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    What everyone has said so far is correct. You could use everything listed or find more that no one has said yet. It really depends on what you want to do with your 'hero' and the story.

    I have several stories about a 'heroine' but none of them are from her POV. One character sees her as a heretic. Another sees her as a vegeance obsessed killer. Another sees her as a mesiah. And many other characters have very different ideas about her.

    But the reader, who is one of the few to know her backstory, will see that she performs the deeds she does not for herself, but for those who have died, and those yet to be born.

    So I guess I am adding motivations to the list. :)
     
  12. mc1ate1mad1cow
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    mc1ate1mad1cow Member

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    Well, believe it or not, a hero becomes a hero only when he is completely bereft of any flaw in looks (his face may have scars but his jaw line must be defined), strength, austerity(in times of peril) and morality(again, in times of peril, and while dealing with strict no-nos, a kitten about to be killed by villain,etc.)-at least in the eyes of your reading crowd.
    Of course the zing factor is also absolutely necessary. This comes in many forms: the hero may have a dark past, dark habits, may have a particularly inflexible problem with intemperance (until he meets the girl, of course)
    In short, the hero, or the M.C. of the novel, becomes successful only when he/she is successfully agreeable to the reader.
    Times are changing; a darker collective conscience is openly accepting darker protagonists simply because they can see themselves doing such things. However, if the protagonist belongs to the opposite sex, even the most vile minds long for good treatment. e.g. a (straight) girl with particularly distasteful obsessions, and a knack for expletives, will fall for the hero only if he treats the M.C./heroine of the novel in a good way, no matter how much havoc he wreaks on the rest of the world.
     
  13. Three
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    Three Member

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    I agree. I hate the designated 'save the world' kind of character. I hate Superman with a fiery passion. There's no such thing as black and white anymore. If you do have a character that is all good and no selfish, he's probably very naive and sheltered, hurt easily and childlike, not to mention weak in almost every sense of the word. He can be adorable, don't get me wrong, but he's no sword-swinging lady-charming villian-beating hero, that's for sure. My favorite... protagonists are those who are in the gray area. They use questionable means to do the right thing (see Batman) or they're reluctantly convinced that saving the world is probably a good idea (see one of my all time favorite characters Artemis Fowl).

    The closest written characters I've got to being genuine human heroes end up murdering their antagonist in cold blood and framing an innocent third party for it. So... :D
     
  14. dianableu
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    dianableu Member

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    When it comes down to it, they must have integrity, a moral compass, loyalty and willingness to sacrifice. Even if they act like complete asses all through the novel or if they whine about not wanting to do the right thing--in the end, they must have these qualities.
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    My favorite type of hero is more of the twisted hero or the anti-hero. Batman is a good example of this. He's the hero, but a lot of times it seems that he could be an anti-hero because of the darkness and conflict within him. He's inherently good but struggles with it and humanity instead of appearing perfect all the time.

    Another thing I like about heroes is the lack of 'duty'. The whole storyline of heroes getting their powers and feeling that they have to use them for good -- while noble -- is tiring. I like heroes like Batman or even Ironman, who don't have to do the things they do, but choose to.
     

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