There was always this one character that captured us the most. Maybe it was his bravery, his skill or even his beauty or elegance that made him so special. More often than not, he was the protagonist, or the protagonist’s enemy. No matter which one is the one you love or adore, most of our favourite heroes have some similarities while other characteristics are almost never found. But why? Let’s take a closer look…
There are different types of roles men and women take it books (and movies) to get the story going. And most of them, you will all know. There are some rules that a lot of stories follow, including most romance and fantasy novels I read:
(1)The hero is beautiful, honorable and brave.
(2) Ugly guys have an ugly character. Beautiful guys are beautiful inside as well.
(3) The guy who gets the girl is always muscular (if he has no super powers)
Let’s take a look at a few examples.
- The Beast in The Beauty and The Beast, was cursed because he was not compassionate and there was no beauty in his soul, so had been turned ugly to show everybody how ugly he “truly” is.
- All bad witches are fat, ugly and old. Not only in Disney movies (see Little Mermaid or Snow White and The Seven Dwarves) but also the bad and scary people of (YA) novels. In The Hunger Games, President Snow is an old man who not only doesn trend in the fashion of his own people, he also smells of death and has to cover the smell with roses.
- In The Hobbit, Thorin Oakenshield is the brave, once privileged prince that has been stripped of his heritage and home. He got the name ‘Oakenshield’ because that was his only defense when he slew the sworn enemy of the dwarves, Azok the Defiler.
- In Game of Thrones, Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon rebelled against their mad king, brave and strong and fearless, to bring peace to their land. Since honor was really important to them, they didn’t even slay all their enemies if they swore loyalty to them and spared the mad king’s little children.
- Last but not least: Who reads romance of you guys? All the cool and hot guys are ripped. Some have so many muscles that they’d need a zip code for them. Those are the ones are women love the most, at least most of our romantic girls. Also, as a side note, most of the ripped, drop-dead-gorgous guys in those books are mean to the girl in the beginning.
These characteristics all have their legitimacy. Especially if there is a strong moral code, like in Disney stories, the amoral behaviour is made clear for the audience through appearances. Usually, the heroes have to be brave in order to stand up to the villain and fight. And who wouldn’t want a hot guy at his side? But let’s be honest guys.
The most interesting characters are those with flaws, scars and who know when to be selfish. Because they are just like we are, real people. We steal and envy others, we pee and fart in our sleep and every once in a while, we do some crazy and irrational stuff. That’s probably one of the reasons more and more people read to their children ‘modern’ fairy tales and why GoT is such a big success.
We have great books that showed us character that were more flawed than anything else, but they kept going. Sometimes because it was the right thing to do, other times, they didn’t really have a choice. A few of them have their own reasons to do good or evil. But they prevailed because when life throws lemons at them, they make lemonade! Some of those all of you know:
And that’s why I say: We need more of the flawed, the ugly, the stupid, the cowardly, the small, unathletic and fat and old. They’re wonderful and they make our favourite books, series or film just that much greater!
What are your favourite, flawed characters? Have you any wishes for a certain type of character? What is your favourite book, film with a flawed character? Can you recommend something? Let’s chat in the comments !