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Hero & Quest: “True” Hero vs. Reluctant Hero vs. Anti-hero

What is a hero? What does it mean to be a hero?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m pretty dismayed by the whole anti-hero craze. I’m pretty honest about my dislikes and triggers: bloody, gratuitous violence, violence against women, rape, torture and horror. While the list is short, the implications are large, lol. There’s a lot that I avoid.

And I have added the anti-hero to that list.

In my previous blog post I pondered the “True” or “Mythological” Hero. This is my preferred hero, for the most part. In fact, my favorite series are The Belgariad and The Mallorean by David Eddings. Eddings’ MC for this series – Belgarion – gets quite a few points on the mythological scale: I’d score Belgarion at 11/22 points (I credit Belgarion with points 1, 2, 4, 6-8, 10-14).

But some really thought-provoking comments by SophieCale made me think about other types of heroes. There are several types of heroes – not just two. SophieCale mentioned that she enjoys anti-heroes to a degree: Any MC who balks at their “quest”, complains about it, undermines it or bends the rules falls into my anti-hero category. Basically, if they aren’t selfless, courageous, honourable or fair I consider them anti-hero, but that’s just my own personal definition.
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Hero & Quest: What is a “Hero?”

In today’s popular literature, the “anti-hero” has become the new hero. Why? Many claim this is in reflection of either A) reality (i.e. that no one is a “real hero”) or B) a symptom of the uncertain times we live in.

But haven’t we always lived in uncertain times? I can’t think of a single era or culture that was not lamenting the greatness of the past while gnashing their teeth at what they see as the destruction of the future (I mean, did nobody expect the Spanish Inquisition? *snerk*). So why has the tide changed against the “hero” in favor of the anti-hero? I don’t know but I’m desperate to discover why. Especially since my personal taste trends towards the typical hero.

I’m currently listening to a class, “Hero and Quest” taught by Dr. Larry George (subtitled “Heroes and Maidens”). This is a fascinating class thus far and it’s giving me great food for thought.

Today’s discussion was the “Mythic Hero.”

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