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7 Types of Heroes


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You don’t need a hero to have a story, but if you want to write about heroic deeds you’re going to end up with one somewhere along the lines. Here are 7 types of heroes that you can use to get you started with your story, or modify these archetypes to keep things fresh and original.

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Published in: Education

7 Types of Heroes

  1. 1. 7 Types of Heroes J.S. Morin
  2. 2. Does a story need a hero?
  3. 3. You don’t need a hero to have a story but if you want to write about heroic deeds, you’re going to end up with one somewhere along the lines.
  4. 4. Where do I start?
  5. 5. Decide on the hero first and let the story follow him from there. Or work out the plot and fill in with the appropriate actors later. It can help to have some archetypes in mind.
  6. 6. Here are a few basic types of heroes you can look to when brainstorming.
  7. 7. The Perfect Hero
  8. 8. The Perfect Hero A paragon of virtue. Embodies everything good about humanity. Strong Uncompromising Selfless Kind Decisive Can make readers feel inspired or perhaps inferior. Suitable for superhero comics, epic fantasy, fairy tales, or satirical works Examples: Superman Odysseus King Arthur
  9. 9. The Misfit
  10. 10. The Misfit Social Outcast. Member of a different race or religion. Can overcome their difference or use it to their advantage. Ostracized because of some disability. Some degree of psychological damage. Suitable for YA and social injustice-themed stories Distrustful of others. Bitter or shy Examples Harry Potter Drizzt Do'Urden Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  11. 11. The Grizzled Old-Timer
  12. 12. The Grizzled Old-Timer They've been there and done that. Doesn't need to learn the ins and outs of heroism He's the one doing the teaching. He may not be in his prime, but there is still plenty of fight left in him. Great Leader. Can carry a victory. Serve as an inspiration in his death. Suitable for group settings (he's a good vehicle for imparting knowledge to the other characters) Examples Gandalf Obi-wan Kenobi Granny Weatherwax
  13. 13. The Everyman
  14. 14. The Everyman It isn’t always the smartest or the strongest who become heroes. Sometimes all it takes is to be in the right place at the right time and choose to do the right thing. There is no special power, no divine sign that tells this hero he is destined for greatness. An everyman hero is a one we can relate to. We could see ourselves in his place. Suitable as the Fates’ Mad Lib, a blank spot that just happened to get filled in with his name. Examples: Arthur Dent Edmund Pevensie Bilbo Baggins
  15. 15. The Anti-Hero
  16. 16. The Anti-Hero He’s someone totally ill-fit to the role but must don the mantle of hero. He probably doesn’t like it and probably wants to be rewarded for his efforts but he’s willing to shoulder the load and get it done. He makes us ask: Can one good deed be enough to redeem someone? What if he goes back to his old, disreputable ways? Greed, brutality, ruthlessness, selfishness, these are the antihero’s anti-virtues. Common offsetting virtues can be sympathy for a particular victim, a soft spot for underdogs, or even an honest desire to repent. Examples Raistlin Majere Haplo Han Solo
  17. 17. The Prodigy
  18. 18. The Prodigy He has a distinct undeniable potential; if only the right circumstances can unlock it. Suitable to pair with the grizzled old veteran who could show the way of the world. The prodigy is raw and unformed, the perfect material to build a story around. The prodigy can go step by step along the Hero’s Journey, which itself is basically an instruction book for raw heroes. He needs to learn everything, to experience the wonders of whatever power makes him special. Examples: Luke Skywalker Parn Paul Atreides
  19. 19. The Un-Hero
  20. 20. The Un-Hero He’s almost like the everyman. With a key exception: he rarely ends up being a proper hero. Somehow for this hero, everything works out in the end and is heaped with the credit. Generally, the un-hero is in all the wrong places at all the wrong times. Suitable for a less serious heroic form and should be reserved for a less serious work. Does more to hinder the cause of good and justice than to help it. Examples: Rincewind Inspector Gadget Mr. Furious
  21. 21. There you have it. Do you have an archetype that needs to be added to the list?
  22. 22. Read the full blog post, or leave a comment at