I just couldn’t resist. I had to post a little something in response to Lisa’s post about White Knights, because although there is something ultra romantic about a man who’s rash and ready to jump into conflict to save me, I have a major soft spot for the heroes who resist their calling and who feel that despite having no say in the matter they just aren’t fit to carry the world on their shoulders.
While white knights have a short sided view of themselves, the reluctant hero not only doubts his ability, but knows that with all his failings, he could never be good enough for his mission, even if he is the only one who can fulfill it. He is often considered selfish or even morally ambigious, but that’s what makes him human. He’s often tortured by his past or even by his current actions, though he knows they’re done for the greater good.
And when it comes to romance, things get complicated because he knows that his place in life will make it impossible to be with the woman he loves.
A perfect example of this is Batman, by far my favorite anti-hero type. He’s so far from Superman. He’s not all pretty and perfect and sweeping in with his tights and cape. He’s haunted and angry and at times loses sight of the fact that he’s supposed to be the good guy, because he’s been jaded by the world. His sense of justice is often battling with his desire for revenge and it makes him dangerous and volatile.
Seeing a reluctant hero’s growth throughout a story (or even better, a series) can be so fulfilling. Most times, they grow into a truly formidable hero, someone who is a beacon of hope and justice. But even when they don’t, you can’t help but feel for them, because they’re like you and me. Flawed and average and just wanting to live a normal life despite the larger than life plot twist coming their way.