On the Same Page is a new feature here on Books Take You Places that I am hosting along with two of my very dear friends, Amy (Tripping Over Books) and Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide). Essentially, we will be reading one book a month together and then doing a non-traditional review such as a playlist, character analysis, and so on…To find out more about this new feature, head on over to its dedication page!
Today I will be talking about Vicious by V.E. Schwab and in a few days I will be getting into a more traditional review of this novel because it really got me thinking about SO MANY THINGS that I want to share! For now, I thought it would be fun to go a different way (that is, away from the villains that I usually focus on) and focus on the different types of literary heroes. Keep in mind that these are all my personal opinions and the beauty is that these are layered characters and can therefore be defined in different ways.
The Willing Hero:
The willing hero is adventurous, committed, and brave. He (or she, except this is unfortunately uncommon) is willing to take great risks and make sacrifices to save others. Someone who is “born great” instead of “having greatness thrust upon him,” is also another important factor in the case of the willing hero. An obvious choice would be King Arthur; he was born with responsibilities and chooses to be a willing and kind leader. A lesser known example would be Jean Valjean, in Les Misérables, when he rushes to the barricade to try to save Marius for the sake of Cosette.
The Unwilling Hero:
An unwilling hero is a more passive person, full of self doubt and hesitant to do anything to take themselves out of the safety they have built around them. This hero uses things such as brainpower to overcome obstacles, instead of brute strength that he (or she) is perhaps missing. You will almost always find this hero with a sidekick or some other outside force of motivation as they will lack the willpower to move forward on their own. A great example of the unwilling hero is Frodo Baggins from The Lord of the Rings.
The Tragic Hero:
Yay we get to use our brains! Let’s break it down into some characteristics of a tragic hero:
- Overcome by inner demons
- Hamartia – Tragic flaw or error that leads to his or her downfall
- Peripeteia – A reversal of fortune brought about by his or her tragic flaw.
- Epiphany – The hero becomes self aware of his actions and consequences.
- Catharsis – The audience feels pity for the hero.
Excellent. Now who does this remind you of?
His call to action is of course, Dumbledore literally calling him to action to protect Harry as he grows and he is overcome by too many inner demons for us to count.
- Hamartia – Ohh it could be so many things! Trusting Dumbledore? Not trusting enough? Let’s say his inability to let go of the past and allow himself happiness.
- Peripeteia – By holding back (even from Lily as a child) he misses out on so many opportunities for happiness. He had hoped that Lily would be avenged by his saving Harry but then learns that Harry must die in order for Voldemort to die as well.
- Epiphany – He recognizes that Harry has Lily’s ability to love as well as her eyes, he realizes that had he let go of his hate and loved as Lily would have wanted him to he could have led a happier life.
- Catharsis – Of course the audience feels pity for the hero while he begs Harry to take his tears and look at him one last time so that he can see the eyes of his beloved!
The Byronic Hero:
This hero has often been described as unsmiling, broody, self respecting but also critical of himself and others. He is often a loner and is generally smarter than average. Ahh who does this bring to mind? My new beloved:
As I previously stated, these heroes can fall into different categories but for fun let’s see how Sherlock fits in with the Byronic hero. He is broody, mysterious, has distaste for social norms, is arrogant and self-destructive. All beautiful qualities of a Byronic hero in literature. Sigh.
The Anti Hero:
Ohh one of my favorites! The anti-hero is usually a rebel, someone who is perhaps looked at as an outlaw to society but who usually gains the audience’s sympathy. This is Victor Vale in Schwab’s novel Vicious, but it also relates to the one and only..
Jack Sparrow! Willing to take the law into his own hands to obtain his goals yet he is simultaneously charming and selfish. He often chooses the “wrong” path if it is easier and gets him to his goal faster. I love him anyway!
Since we are tragically missing females in this list I am going to provide you with my favorite female anti-hero: Scarlett O’Hara!
She is incredibly self serving and uses her beauty and charm to obtain whatever she wants, at any cost. She doesn’t care who she hurts, and sometimes she works solely out of malice. Her drive? Survival. Self preservation at its finest.
Please, discuss! Tell me what you think of my choices and who you would choose as your heroes! Other fun posts related to Vicious by V.E. Schwab can be found on Brittany and Amy’s blogs, so head on over!