Today I’m writing about what makes a hero a hero. There are two prime qualities that make a hero really a hero: 1) compassion and 2) a strong moral compass. Seek ye first these, and all the others shall be added unto you. You can not be a hero without having these. If you lack one, then you can be a protagonist or anti-hero. And even anti-heroes have their ethical sense.
For instance, if you see someone who is not very nice, you won’t like them at all, right? But someone who is perfect is boring. So here’s the happy medium: Someone with strong moral principles (or with at least some moral principles) who doesn’t live up to them all the time.
If you were to write someone who was completely despicable (unlike Gru, who has a lovable side! ;-D), no one would want to hear about it. If you were to write about someone who was far from perfect and could in fact be rather obnoxious and horrid, but tried to be better, then you have a wonderful anti-hero who people would follow, come hell or high water. There must be a redeeming quality; your protagonist must know when to stop (unless, of course, you want them to turn into the villain. And more often than not, the redeeming quality turns out to be some sort of moral code.
Every hero is, in some sense, an anti-hero. A good hero has flaws. For instance, Charles Wallace can be prideful. Obi-Wan Kenobi tends to use his head when he should be using his heart. Sir Percy Blakeney has trust issues. And don’t even start me on Jack Frost. 😛 But you have to add “hero” to the “anti.” And then, when you’ve done that… you’ve made the master stroke.
Enjoy the anti-heroes, people. 😉