Long before I knew they were actually anti-heroes, I admired these spunky, obnoxious, slightly dark, self-serving characters. Movies especially make these characters alluring, funny, and real.
Rumplestiltskin Once Upon A Time has done an amazing job of breathing new life into this traditional mischief-maker. We hate him. We love him. But we have to keep watching because who knows what side he'll be on next.
The Arrow In the first two seasons of the CW's Arrow, Stephen Amell played the perfect anti-hero. Who knew if he'd save your life or kick your...um....well, you get the point. Damaged and slightly unhinged, we only knew we couldn't look away. (Especially when his shirt was off.)
Han Solo Seriously, what girl didn't love Han Solo? Selfish, disheveled, self-centered, and always concerned with what's in it for him, Somehow that didn't make him less attractive. (Really, Luke Skywalker is positively boring next to him.)
Shrek Until Shrek arrived on the scene with his tasteless jokes and questionable motives, I didn't know what true love was. Granted, eventually he becomes the hero we always wanted...but then he just turned back into a flatulant ogre, which is the way we like him anyway.
Snape I spent the first five books hating him only to discover that he's the dark hero of the entire flipping series. Well played, JK Rowling, well played. Harry never would have grown into his own powers without such a fierce protector behind him. (And we judged him on his preference for black and his greasy mop of hair. Tragic, really.)
Sherlock Oh yes, Sherlock Holmes is the ultimate anti-hero who gets in his own way as often as he gets in everyone else's. But why wouldn't we love an ultra-intelligent, handsome, fearless character? (Unless we have to share a flat with him. Poor, poor John. That ego can't be easy to live with.)
Wolverine He's one of my personal favorites. Hunky, moody, foul-mouthed, damaged, and ready for any fight that comes his way. At his core is a nugget of loyalty. He'd make an interesting boyfriend...
Loki The God of Mischief can't be anything but an anti-hero. Every action, whether noble or cowardly, is spurred by a self-serving motive. His admonition to Thor rings true in nearly every instance, Are you ever not going to fall for that?
Anti-heroes are after delightfully human (except Loki) and often more relatable than traditional heroes. I've yet to write an anti-hero into a book, but it's only a matter of time before I sneak one in. After all, my next project is Rumplestiltskin...
Who are your favorite anti-heroes? Leave me a comment, and as always, thanks for dropping in! (Feel free to throw some ladies in there...)
Like to read about more aspects of the writing process?
Give it Heart, New Life, New Breath
Tragically Flawed...Or Not
Breaking the Rules
World Building for the Literary Challenged