Whenever I read an action or adventure story I rarely like the lead character or I’m apathetic to them. Heroes, in my opinion, are generally pretty boring. Perhaps it’s because they are weighed down by all that inherent goodness that makes them difficult for me to identify with. If it wasn’t for some amazing supporting characters I probably would’ve put down many of the books I’ve read. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hero story now and again, but the Harry Potter-esque leads can grow a bit dull. I like my characters to be deliciously flawed with a dash of a few redeemable qualities. This means that my favorite characters generally fall under the antihero heading.
The antihero comes in all shapes and sizes, each with their own degree of moral ambiguity. The Doctor, Humbert Humbert, Batman, Lestat, Dexter Morgan- all antiheroes and well loved characters. Antiheroes can usually be identified by the following criteria.
- Imperfections that separate them from typically “heroic” characters -selfishness, ignorance, bigotry,violence, etc)
- lack of positive qualities such as “courage, physical prowess, and fortitude,” and “generally feel helpless in a world over which they have no control”
- qualities normally belonging to villains (amorality, greed, violent tendencies, etc.) that may be tempered with more human, identifiable traits (confusion, self-hatred, etc.)
- noble motives pursued by bending or breaking the law in the belief that “the ends justify the means.”
If you’ve grown weary of reading about the righteous and upstanding Harry Potter types, then check out some of our suggested titles featuring some of our devious, demented, and devilish leading lads and ladies.
More novels featuring antiheroes:
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- Hannibal by Thomas Harris