I Need A Hero
Since I talked about villains last week, I thinks it’s only fair to give heroes some equal time. My protagonists have to be heroes. The books and stories I love most involve the main character going above and beyond to save the day. I mean that generally speaking. There are so many different nuances and twists that could happen, and I’d still be satisfied. One thing’s for sure.
I can’t stand slice-of-life stories.
There I said it. I understand these stories are trying to evoke emotions instead of plot, but I get enough emotions in my daily life. I need my main characters to accomplish something by the end of the story. I need them to become heroes.
Let me break down some types.
1. The Established Hero
These are the stories where from the very beginning the protagonist knows he or she is the hero. These are most common in stories about detectives, lawyers or comic book heroes. The stories start with the protag in a position to do good for the masses/little guy/unsung. They want to help, and that drive is there from the get-go.
One of my favorite series has this type of hero. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher blends classic PI with fantasy in a way that had me devour all twelve books and eagerly waiting for more. Do yourself a favor and check out this series.
2. The Destined Hero
This type of hero almost always involves a prophecy of some kind. A seemingly average person’s life is transformed by the words of an old scroll/crone/fortune-telling machine. Then it’s up to the protag to either live up to the prophecy or let the world suffer the consequences.
Harry Potter comes to mind here. So do countless other fantasy novels. So much so, that I try to stay away from books with this type of hero. It’ll take some pretty clever writing to pull this off any more. Even though Eddings and Jordan soured me on the prophecy, Rowling managed to pull it off.
3. The Accidental Hero
These are the heroes who became heroes against their will. The main difference between the Accidental Hero and the Destined Hero is the lack of it being foretold in the past. Situations out of their control has forced them to do things that under normal circumstances they never would have considered doing.
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a good example of this kind of hero. I think this type of protag speaks the most to people. We want nothing more than to be left alone with our little lives, but when push comes to shove we’d like to think we could kick some serious ass if we had to.
I see these three pop up the most in my reading. Is there any other types you can think of? If so, let me know. If you’d like to carry on this discussion, use the hashtag #herotypes in Twitter. I’ll check in throughout the day.