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Anti-Heroes
da_kasha at 1:14PM, Oct. 5, 2009
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I’ve just finished reading the first book of the Coldfire Trilogy, Black Sun Rising, and I’ve got to say Gerald Tarrant is awesomeness.

He murdered his family, became some-sort of 1000-year-old demon-vampire thing, regrets nothing, values nothing more than his life and the only reason he seems to be helping out our protagonists is something between showing off and having to pay back a debt (which apparently if he doesn’t do he dies). I don’t know, there’s just something about a cold, heartless bastard for a hero that appeals to me so much more than the common goody-goody, morally perfect variety.


What other good anti-heroes are out there in books, games, tv etc? And what’s your favourite part about them?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
DAJB at 3:27PM, Oct. 6, 2009
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A few off the top of my head:

Dexter is probably as good an example of an antihero as you're likely to find on TV. His victims may deserve to die but his real motivation is his own gratification.

In comics, the Punisher is a pretty nasty piece of work, taking a perverse delight in dispatching his opponents in unnecessarily gruesome ways.

Arguably, Claire Bennett's father from Heroes is an anti-hero, too. He thinks nothing of trying to eradicate anyone with “powers” in the name of what he considers to be the greater good.

In movies (and books) there's always Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind - totally amoral and self-serving but a definite charmer. Or, come to think of it, Scarlett O'Hara herself. That woman doesn't have a single redeeming quality and yet she still has the audience rooting for her!

Almost any character written by Frank Miller. I'm thinking specifically of the characters in Sin City but, as an assassin, even Elektra has something of the anti-hero about her.

You could make a case for including Dirty Harry or any character played by Clint in his “man with no name” spaghetti Western era.

Jack Nicholson in almost any role he's ever played, although his character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Murphy?) comes immediately to mind.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 6:05PM, Oct. 6, 2009
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OK, two mega classics:

Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte.
He's an absolute bastard. Real dickhead. A vengeful, mean, jealous, petty little piece of work… But we still like him anyway, for some reason.

Sir Harry Flashman, from the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser.
He's selfish, self serving, venal, a coward etc, but we like him because he succeeds anyway. Deep down most of us think we're frauds at heart, only waiting to be exposed for what we really are, so that's part of his appeal. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
mlai at 6:28PM, Oct. 7, 2009
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ozoneocean
Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights by Emile Bronte.
He's an absolute bastard. Real dickhead. A vengeful, mean, jealous, petty little piece of work… But we still like him anyway, for some reason.
Woah. Woah, there.

He's a bastard, vengeful and mean. But you make him sound worthless. Everything he does is in retribution to how he was treated in childhood. Most of us have bullies we'd like to get back at IRL, but can't due to societal constraints. He's brave and determined enough to flip society off, and do what he can to get back at all the years of abuse.

Women love him because he's the original gothic romance antihero. The dark brooding outcast with unequivocal all-consummating love. Men love him because he's not a poser about it, and because he proceeds about his vengeance.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
ozoneocean at 2:18AM, Oct. 8, 2009
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Oh, I don't imply that he's worthless… Just a horrible person.
mlai
He's brave and determined enough to flip society off, and do what he can to get back at all the years of abuse.
He didn't have a good childhood, but it wasn't as bad as what he did to others as an adult.

Yes, he's a downtrodden outsider that goes away and comes back having made good. He doesn't take any crap, he's not soft in any way. But he's not admirable, not even in his vengeance.
That's what makes him an anti hero to me: He could be admirable but he's not because of his jealously and hatred and how he lets that guide his actions and rue his life.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
Custard Trout at 4:30AM, Oct. 8, 2009
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Basil Fawlty. He's an anti hero in the original meaning of the term, a protagonist with no heroic qualities whatsoever. He is the ‘hero’ of the Fawlty Towers series, but he's hateful, rude, sarcastic and mean to anyone he thinks is beneath him (pretty much everyone) and sucking up to anyone he perceives to be wealthy or famous. He's a hypocrite, he physically assaults one of his staff for even the slightest mistake, and he's slowly descending into an insanity of his own creation.

He's not a noble murderer or a dark knight with a grim past, he's just a sad, nasty little man. The only way to possibly root for him would be to hope he actually succeeds, just once, even though you know he doesn't really deserve it.

In fact, you could probably include the protagonist of pretty much every British sit com ever made. Especially a certain Edmund Blackadder.
Hey buddy, you should be a Russian Cosmonaut, and here's why.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:02PM
Air Raid Robertson at 9:21PM, Oct. 8, 2009
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I consider The Man With No Name to be the archtypical anti-hero. Whenever the word “anti-hero” is used that poncho and craggy cigar comes readily to mind.

I'm also very fond of John Constantine from Hellblazer. He's a worthless little bastard, but the reader ends up loving him anyways. I consider this to be a very necessary component of any anti-hero worth his salt.

I'm also a big fan of The Goon. That book just makes me laugh, and that's almost always enough for me.

Wolverine and Deadpool are also anti-heroes that I'm fond of. Then again, that may just only be because of lingering nostalgic tingles.

last edited on July 14, 2011 10:48AM
mlai at 10:40PM, Oct. 8, 2009
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Obviously, Satan from Paradise Lost is the original anti-hero. Well… more original than anything else already mentioned in this thread…

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM
DAJB at 11:24PM, Oct. 8, 2009
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ozoneocean
Oh, I don't imply that he's worthless… Just a horrible person.
mlai
He's brave and determined enough to flip society off, and do what he can to get back at all the years of abuse.
He didn't have a good childhood, but it wasn't as bad as what he did to others as an adult.

Yes, he's a downtrodden outsider that goes away and comes back having made good. He doesn't take any crap, he's not soft in any way. But he's not admirable, not even in his vengeance.
That's what makes him an anti hero to me: He could be admirable but he's not because of his jealously and hatred and how he lets that guide his actions and rue his life.
Yup - I'm with Ozone on this one!

A “hero” rises above the hardships he or she has suffered in life and does good things for altruistic reasons. Heathcliff allows his hardships to turn him into something mean-minded, self-centred, malicious and vengeful. In fact he's so far along the “anti-hero” side of the spectrum it could be argued he's actually the villain. Certainly in the second half of the book, there's nothing sympathetic about him at all.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
Sea_Cow at 9:28AM, Oct. 9, 2009
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How about Patrick Bateman? I'm not entirely sure he counts, as he wasn't really a “hero”, just the main character of the movie. But hot damn, that guy is awesome.

Probably a more “anti-hero” type character is any given character in Sons of Anarchy. Jax, the main character, is really a general good-guy except for being part of a biker gang. His stepfather Clay apparently killed Jax's biological father, something his mother is aware of, but he still seems incredibly badass and charismatic to me. Then there's Clay's muscle, Tig, who accidentally killed the wife of a gang member who they thought was ratting them out. He also beats hookers and intended to shoot a teenage girl, but he's still probably my favorite character in the series. Again, everybody in that show has enough charisma to make up for their sins.

Go here to see more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sons_of_Anarchy
I am so happy to finally be back home
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM

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