Monday, August 27, 2012

Flawed or Not Flawed? That is the Hero Question

Not all heroes are created equal, though there is a brand of hero-stereotype out there.

You know the ones-

The Superman hero: Kind, generous, honest, gentle, strong, handsome, smart, noble…. The list goes on.

Who can argue with the dashing, determined, and darling hero whose kind heart propels him forward into good works to save the damsel, kill the dragon, defeat the bad-guy. It’s the noble guy. The Captain America or Luke Skywalker. Yes…that’s ONE type of hero – but I want to start a discussion today about the OTHER kind of hero. The one who USUALLY takes the lead role in a movie and sets our Mr. Good-Guy to a complimentary supporting character place.

In a massive cast like Lord of the Rings, there are bound to be a whole group of heroes.

Wholesome, good, and FANTASTIC archer, Legolas, stands out in this group – or Gandalf the white.

Let’s look at a few of the BEST movie heroes of all time and see how they rank with the above definition.

Here’s what I found:

  • James Bond
  • Indiana Jones 
  • Captain Jack Sparrow 
  • Rhett Butler
  • Han Solo
Hmmm….as Jack would say, “Interesting”

Can this motley crew be a group of heroes too? Of course they can. Some of the BEST heroes are the most flawed ones – and I think that’s what makes them the most interesting. I guess that's why Wolverine is gettig his own movie and Cyclops isn't.

It’s why James Bond is an icon and Han Solo gets a higher ranking than Luke Skywalker.

Superman vs Batman? The difference is visibly obvious. But they’re BOTH heroes. Flaws. Flaws (and I daresay, humor too :) We want to see a flawed guy reach beyond his flaws and become something greater for the woman he loves.

 Let’s pit Mr. Bingley against Mr. Darcy (no offense Jane Austen) What makes us fall in love with Darcy? (besides wet shirts and ‘almost kisses’….uh hem) Complexity of character. A flawed hero. An opportunity for love to change a man to be better.

 And I’m a BIG Captain American Fan- especially played by Chris Evans – but I like Chris playing the Human Torch in The Fantastic Four better because he was so daggone flawed, it was relatable. He needed rescuing. He needed to push beyond his flaws to become something greater. It’s how Jack Sparrow became the icon of Pirates of the Caribbean. A good-hearted pirate? (mind you, I’ve never gotten past the eyeliner)

And let’s not even mention Edward Rochester. Flawed? Let me count the ways.

My oldest son added the teen criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl – who becomes the HERO! Some more? Flynn Rider? Sherlock Holmes (the newest BBC edition is FAB)

So – what say you? Flaws or no flaws? What do you write? If you could claim any hero as your creation, who would you have picked and why? Inquiring minds want to know!


Nancy Kimball said...

FLAWS! I like my heroes wrecked. =) Who am I kidding. I like pretty much any hero. But anyone who knows me or my blog knows that, hehe.
Great post, Pepper.
If I'd thought of him first, I'd claim Michale Hosea. He will probably always be my favorite hero. And oddly enough, he wasn't that flawed. Funny.

Unknown said...

Give me flaws any day! Perfect people are simply not fun to read about. :)

Hmm, I love Jack Bauer in 24. He's about as flawed as heroes come...yeah, I think I'd have liked to claim him as my creation! :)

April Gardner said...

Funny, cuz I was just thinking last night that if a book as a preacher as a hero, I won't read it. Why? Because he's usually not flawed enough.

Give me flaws. The more the better! Then make me guess the entire length of the book how in the world he's going to overcome them.

If I could claim any hero as my own creation, it would be (today anyway, lol) Cullen Bohannon from AMC's Hell on Wheels. If you're not familiar with it, you can read up on it here:

He's so horribly flawed, it's hard to see any good in him, but it's there and I'm rooting for him to find it! He's he's hot. Way hot. :-D

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Yes, flawed for sure! We readers can relate to flawed and it gives us more reason to root for the hero!

Jeanne T said...

Definitely like 'em flawed. :) It deepens the story to see a hero grow beyond those flaws and "get the girl" in the end. And, as has already been said, those flaws make the hero more relatable.

My honey and I watched Leap Year (again--for me) over the weekend. I love Matthew Goode's character, Declan. So cynical, holding onto hurts in the beginning of the movie. And to see how it ends. Ahhhhh, love it. :)

Lindsay Harrel said...

I definitely like a flawed hero. If he seems "too good to be true," then he isn't as interesting. Sure, he makes you swoon a little bit, but the reality fades and it just seems like a fairy tale. And I like to read books that have real characters.

Angie Dicken said...

I like a flawed hero...kinda like being attracted to the bad guy! Yeah, I was one of those silly freshmen swooning over the handsome, bad boy upper classmen! A fave hero...Indiana Jones is definitely up there...I would like to claim Ben off of How to Lose A Guy in Ten Days...perfectly flawed. ;)

Unknown said...

I love the eyeliner bit, heehee

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!! THAT IS HENRY CAVILL....sigh....I cannot wait to see this Superman because of him.

And yes...give me a flawed hero with some rough edges...I love it!

Pepper said...

Michael Hosea is a beautiful hero - isn't he?
Almost perfect....almost :-)

Pepper said...

Nice choice, Melissa!
Give me complex and flawed ANY day.

Pepper said...

Amen, April!

Pepper said...

Right Cindy
And I want to root for my hero!

You know, I find that my heroes I wrote are pretty perfect.
Gonna have to work on some flaws. :-)

Pepper said...

A woman after my own heart!
I LOVE Leap Year.
Love Declan!
(I'm also a big fan of Amy Adams too - did you know she's playing Lois Lane in the new Superman movie?)

Pepper said...

Too true.
Do you find that it's much easier to read flawed heroes than to write them?
I do

Pepper said...

Angie's bad-girl side is coming out with this post, ladies.
Watch out! :-)

Oh yes, love Matthew's character on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Pepper said...

Gotta love Jack Sparrow, saavy? :-)

Pepper said...

OH YES!!!!
Just sayin'

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Seriously, I have such a crush on Henry Cavill. Of course, I haven't seen him in much, since he is in stuff I don't normally watch, so I'm excited about this movie. :)

Just sayin'.

Pepper said...

I was introduced to him in The Count of Monte Cristo
He is the 'picture' of my hero in "Heartless" :-) about a flawed hero.

Krista Phillips said...

Oh, I LOVE This Pepper! Love me a good flawed hero! My Reuben, in my own opinion, is deeply flawed. The dude has issues. I struggled because some early opinions was that "I don't like him, he's a jerk" but... jerks are redeemable too, right???

Unknown said...


Charity Tinnin said...

I'm one of those rare birds who likes them both :) Most of the time, I'd rather read (and write) flawed heroes--more tension and room to grow in those guys and gals. But sometimes, I just want an epic dual between good and evil, and in that scenario, give me Captain America or Cyclops any day :)

Kristi said...

Great post!

And I definitely am in the "flawed" group, though like Charity, I like them both.

Give me Damon from The Vampire Diaries any day over his brother. There's a flawed character if I've ever seen one. *sigh*

Marney McNall said...

If the hero isn't flawed, he's hard to relate to. I definitely go for the flawed. Plus, he's so much more fun to write.