Heroes? Villians? Nah! Anti-heroes? Yes!

These days we love characters in all of their shades-of-grey glory, with everything from books, to Tv shows and even movies showing a tendency towards darker and more dubious heroes and heroines. Anti-heroes have been around for a long time – you only have to look at Shakespeare’s Macbeth, to some extent Julius Ceaser and the Byronic heroes of the Brontë sisters to see their early incarnations – but it’s only been recently that their popularity has began to eclipse that of the classic, squeaky-clean hero.

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But why is that? What exactly is it that we love so much about anti-heroes? Why are we so fascinated by Tyrion Lannister, Rachel Watson (The Girl On The Train), the Underwoods (House of Cards) and the Hamlets? Why do we craze about Deadpool, Sherlock Holmes and Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses)? Their character is wrought with flaws and demons, disregarding the normal societal processes for their own agendas. Their actions are often morally questionable, and in many cases reprehensible, and they’re exactly the kind of people you wouldn’t want to know or meet in real life. So why do we love them so much in books and on screen?

They’re flawed, just like us

Although our flaws don’t involve murders, blackmailing, selling of meth etc, but we are flawed and this is as true as we are humans

The dictionary definition of an anti-hero is ‘a protagonist or notable figure who is conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities.’ So according to that definition, we all are an anti-hero of our life.

I can vouch for the fact I’m ‘conspicuously lacking in heroic qualities. I’m certainly not selfless. If I have to pick up my share of a cake, I’m picking the bigger piece! And whilst I think I’m a fairly moral person, I’ll still have a little chuckle if I see someone fall over in a comical manner (once I’ve established they’re OK, obviously!).

While I’m not exactly Vito Corleone (The Godfather), I am a flawed human being, and that’s what anti-heroes are at their most basic level. We may not be able to relate to a lot of the terrible things anti-heroes do, but we can definitely relate to being imperfect!

Image Source- Google Images

They’re complex.

One thing I want in a character – whether they’re an alien from a far off planet or your average student – is to believe that they are real, and therefore, they have to be a complex, fully-realised person, rather than a cardboard cut-out.

I have never liked Superman in my life. He is too good a person to exist, always saving humanity and people around, at any cost. I would prefer Deadpool and Jason Todd any day, atleast, they know when to give up. Their characters are mix of both good and bad, which can lead to a lot of internal conflict, mimicking human nature, rather than “I need to save my earth” shouting anytime of day.

They have a backstory, and how they came to be what they are. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m a lot fascinated by psychology, and anti-heroes can provide some pretty interesting backstories and psyches to indulge in.

I believe we’re all partially the product of our background, whether families or experiences, and so when I’m first introduced to an anti-hero, I often find myself wondering how they came to be the way they are. What was their family like, and how were they brought up? What happened to them to make them as they are and what drives them?

The answers never disappoint you, you get a solid reason and not just that you were bitten by spider, so you gained super power, it’s not that I don’t like Spiderman. Severus Snape from Harry Potter and Rorschach from Watchmen are great examples of this: in both cases there’s a moment where you suddenly discover a huge piece of their backstory, and get a great insight into why they behave as they do. And, who doesn’t love Severus Snape?

They make us consider our beliefs on morality and ethics.

They are by nature ambiguous, and that can give us plenty to think about and debate. For example, Dexter Morgan from Dexter is a serial killer, which is terrible, but he only kills bad people. Does that make him any better than the people he murders? Or is he just as bad as them?

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They can certainly get us thinking in a way that straight-up heroes don’t. Classic heroes just ‘do the right thing’ because it’s the right thing to do, and there’s no thinking, or internal conflict involved, whilst anti-heroes throw up a lot of brain stimulating questions and conundrums to consider. And, being made to think is always a good thing, surely?

We can live vicariously through them. 

Maybe in our daydreams we’re all unstoppable badasses (armed with a number of well-timed equipments for when we’re about to defeat our enemy) or the mastermind of an impossible heist like The Professor or being a drug lord or a mafia leader like Thomas Shelby or Walter White, but in truth, we’re mostly just going to work and doing the laundry. And to be honest, I think most people would much prefer the quiet life to being a criminal mastermind!

Image Source- Google Images

However, since books and movies are largely for entertainment purposes it can be nice to live vicariously through anti-heroes. That attitude of ‘say whatever they want, and do whatever they want’ pleases us momentarily. Because, let’s face it: we all have those days when we just want to scream at our boss to stick their job, and tell our ‘friend’ who keeps subtly putting us down to get lost! Maybe we can’t do those things in real life, but it can be therapeutic to see someone else doing exactly what they want.

Don’t forget to comment your favorite antiheroes. Mine are – Dr Victor Von Doom, Sherlock Holmes and Moon Knight. Have a great weekend!

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110 Comments Add yours

  1. HappySoul says:

    I’m a badass in my dreams! slaying enemy ☺️

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Glad you could relate!🤣🤣

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Alisha Mehta says:

    I always loved Anti-heroes characters…and after reading your post I fell for them again😁
    Brilliant post👍

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much….it means a lot to me!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Karthigeyan says:

    You have rightly justified why one would fend anti-heros against heros. Like geez, the heros always get everything without working for it (mostly), which makes the plot instantly boring and predictable to me. But anti-heros are a bundle of surprise. Though I particularly didn’t fancy “Rachel” from “The girl on the train”. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Rachel was a bit different character and not appealed to many people. Thank you for feedback! Heroes make the plot a little boring!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Karthigeyan says:

        She sure was eccentric, but no hate to her fans. Keep writing 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Nawazish says:

        Thanks!🤗🤗

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Jigglypuff says:

    That line for Snape swept me away!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Aha! Snape fan! Thank you for reading!❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rishika Jain says:

    Awesome read, Nawazish!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Exactly. Who doesn’t love Severus Snape. I love this whole thought and your post. Actually grey characters have certain depth, and they are far more relatable than the actual ‘hero’. You have mentioned some very good characters in your post.
    I would like to add few more names which I personally like a lot like Loki, Joker, Berlin, Damon Salvatore, Lisbeth Salander.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      They have a background and that makes them more interesting. They have reason for their every action. I like Loki and Berlin too!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Loki is my favourite when it comes to antiheroes.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Nawazish says:

        He is cool and eccentric, God of mischief!🤩🤩

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Hahaha. Yes. Full of tricks.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. can’t remember the names of the anti-heroes I like. I feel empathy for most of them. Lots were corrupted by their environment or people in it. Like the heroes, they too were born innocent.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you for your kind comment! They became corrupted due to circumstances!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Era says:

    👌👌👌

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Dulcy Singh says:

    Fabulous post 👍👍

    Like

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Insider says:

    When the villain’s untold story is revealed he turns into an anti- hero. A story that is perhaps more acceptable to us because perfection is a non existent terminology. Had me captivated till the very end amazing! Looking forward to reading more from you (:

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much! It means a lot to me!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Insider says:

        The pleasure is all mine ❤❤

        Liked by 3 people

  11. nithya994 says:

    Loved this! And yes, I too love to find out the past of any character to figure out why there are who they are.🙃

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks! Hahaha! Like mindedness

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Kripaa says:

    Yah that was indeed fun reading … kudos to you nawazish

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

  13. nithya994 says:

    Yup! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  14. A part of us always want to be a rebel, to do what everyone expects us not to, although they themselves carry a secret desire to do those things. And these grey characters provide a perfect middle ground mimicking out actual character, sometimes heroic and many a times devilish. Awesomely written!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much!❣❣

      Liked by 2 people

  15. “I’m the bitch and I’m the boss! ” Too good ! 💥💥

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❣❣

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Joel Abakah says:

    Few of mine would be Deadpool(of course), Captain Jack Sparrow in pirates of the Caribbean, Don Draper from Mad men, Jay Gatsby in the book The Great Gatsby and Damon Salvatore from TVD.

    I’ve always loved antiheroes. Mostly I root for bad guys in a book or tv show or movie, that’s if there’s no antiheroe. I guess I’m simply not drawn to the picture perfect hero.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      The idea of a perfect hero seems too far fetched. Jay Gatsby and Jack Sparrow are one of my favorites too!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Joana says:

    True! They’re more interesting, and more relatable 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  18. Oh, I definitely like Cumberbatch Sherlock Holmes and the “Good” in the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The complexity of character is fun 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you for your kind comment!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

  19. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    GOOD DISCUSSION!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks!🤗🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Started with Shakespeare, Dr.Shakespeare. Looks like you’re really fascinated by anti heroes, try Constantine and spawn. They’re great too.
    Dr.Doom is out and out a villain.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      I forgot to mention many characters in flow like Constatine, Loki, Jack Sparrow and many more too.
      Dr Doom did some good deeds too!🥺🥺

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No he didn’t. Do you know god doom??

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Nawazish says:

        He helped Iron man I guess and when he was hurt in civil war….he joined shield?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. He used the power or beyonders and created a world.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Nawazish says:

        But he came back to earth looking for redemption!🤷‍♀️

        Liked by 2 people

  21. Thomas Shelby and Al Pachino, glad to see that consideration in your post Nawazish!!😁😁

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Haha! I have always liked Al Pacino and Thomas Shelby got in the list after Peaky Blinders!😃😃

      Liked by 3 people

  22. kutukamus says:

    Mr Bean did come to mind 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      He was a complete man!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. This was so interesting. I had a rather hectic day and it busted my stress. Well done Nawazish ! 💖💖✨

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much! I am glad it was of some help to you! How are you?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It surely was ! I am good. College life in online mode is very hectic with a plethora of assignments. So it is difficult to cope up but blogging keeps me up and running ! How are you ? 💖

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Nawazish says:

        I am good too! Online college is really bad and I can feel you there!😅😅

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh ! Then I was correct to assume that you’re in college, and I guess I read that you’re studying in the medical field (forgive me, if I’m wrong). How do you manage all the assignments and the blog ? 😊😅

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Nawazish says:

        Yes, I am in medical field. I luckily don’t get assignments…just lectures. So, I get lots of free time😅😅 You engineering people have lots of assignments, I have heard from friends!😅😅

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oh ! Indeed, we get assignments. But I know that the academics level is equally tough for both engineering and medical sciences.
        Take care and keep writing 💖😊

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Nawazish says:

        You too take care and keep writing!

        Like

  24. Harsh says:

    Sherlock Holmes, Vito Corleone, Thomas Shelby, Dexter…
    You’ve got some great choices!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Hahaha! They are great figures worth admiring! Thanks a bunch!🙈🙈

      Like

  25. This post is a rare gem..I would go for Logan anytime.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much! It means a lot to me!❣❣

      Like

      1. Am glad you put the subject matter in such an engaging manner

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Nawazish says:

        Thanks a ton!🤗🤗

        Like

      3. You’re welcome Nawazish..peace and love.

        Liked by 2 people

  26. VrindaBNair says:

    Maybe, they are geniuses imprisoned in their own erroneous perspective.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. this was awesome Nawazish!!! I particullary liked your insights in the characters and the draw of characters. I for one could never watch thrillers etc,,, scared me too much. I bet you didn’t like batman either right? Well, I live with him ever since my husband got bit by a bat.. we call him BATMAN! ( he had the shots). Lol. Ever since then I can watch scary movies.. 🤣 Weird I know.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton Cindy. I hope your husband is fine!😅😅

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks Nawazish… he had all the shots.. we couldn’t take the chance so he’s more than good! 👍🙏

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Nawazish says:

        Glad he is well!🤗🤗

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks me too. Now it’s a joke.. Batman can protect us.. lol

        Liked by 2 people

  28. Oh, I love your perspective here and I completely agree. Anti heroes somehow remind me that life isn’t always black and white, it’s filled with the greys, too. And it’s what a person does within those grey areas, that defines them. This is an excellent article, Nawazish! ✨✨

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much, Rishika for your kind comment and support always!❤❤

      Liked by 2 people

  29. kinge says:

    True, back stories carry more weight. And we are definitely products of our experiences both the good and bad since they shape us. In support of the anti heroes such as deedpool.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much sir!

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Shruba says:

    You forget one important point, they are bad and unapolegetically so. We are all usually nice people who wish we were kinda bad instead. 🙈😂

    Liked by 3 people

  31. Glee Sparkle says:

    Interesting read!!!

    Don’t forget to Glee and spread Sparkles ✨
    -Nani 💖

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much!❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Dreamer ❤ says:

    Nobody’s perfect, great post 🌼

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❤

      Like

  33. Anisha says:

    In most movies and books I’ve read, anti-heroes are the ones that often capture my attention and stay long in mind. Your post has completely justified their presence and I loved it. ❣

    Sherlock Holmes has been an inspiration for the love of characters portrayed with grey shades. Snape, Good in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’, Jack Sparrow, Maleficent, Shrek and anti-heroes of the Tamil movies Vikram Vedha, Raatchasan, Thani Oruvan and Vaali remain in my favourites list.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much Anisha for your kind comments! I have yet to see any Tamil movie. When I do it, I’ll look out for these character!❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anisha says:

        Pleasure is all mine! (:

        Sure, give them a try someday. These movies won’t disappoint.

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Raksha says:

    So trueeeee😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❤

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Gauri Bellad says:

    A great topic to discuss 👍 Interesting blog on anti – heros. Hi Nawazish , hope u doing fine. Have published my blog on the award u nominated me for, last week. Once again thanks for nominating me. Have answered all ur questions.Hope u find them genuinely satisfying. Keep inspiring and keep writing 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much! I’ll sure check it out!❤❤

      Like

  36. Wonderful post and actually real to each and every extent. Though not anti hero..but we have good and bad in us, defined by a more complicated term , strength and weaknesss. Everyone has a past , a back story and that’s how they grow up to be. It impacts each and every moment of life. Not only charity, but the product we are , all starts from home. Very nicely written …wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Nawazish says:

    They have this likeable property!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Silver Stone says:

      Yep, they sure do!

      Liked by 1 person

  38. Saniya says:

    Loved this! Brilliant Post🧡💫

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thanks a ton!❤❤

      Like

  39. Shreya Sinha says:

    Awesome post! Loved reading it 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much, Shrey!❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Shreya Sinha says:

        You’re welcome 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Elli says:

    I agree with all of the points in this post! I think we all can relate to anti-heroes the most because we’re able to look at them not just as a hero or villain, but as a person. They make mistakes like us, show at least some vulnerability, and in my opinion are the most believable types of characters! Love this post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Thank you so much Elli! There humanly nature makes us love them more!❤

      Liked by 1 person

  41. when anything comes up with ‘The Godfather’ its interesting……..different angle of the villain character.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nawazish says:

      Haha! Villains have a good backstory and are interesting characters

      Like

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