13 November, 2010

Wherein You All Get to be Wise Readers

From time to time, I shall throw out a question, a comment, or a tidbit that hasn't anything specific to do with the book I'm writing, and hope most of you participate.  This is one of those times.

Here's the question: what annoys you the most about most heroes?

I'll begin, by way of oiling the wheels.  I really, really despise reluctant heroes.  The ones who bitch and moan and cry "Why me?!" lose my sympathy fast.  Some moments of doubt and self-pity are to be expected.  Wallowing in it for several hundred pages, however, just makes me want to smack them.

Mind you, this isn't an across-the-board condemnation.  I adore Terry Pratchett's Rincewind, for instance, who is the very epitome of reluctant hero.  But he's an admitted coward who's never had a single ambition other than to become the most bored person in the world, and he's funny, so I forgive him.  And I don't mind the "Oh, fuck, here we go again" type of hero, the one who bitches and moans and complains while rolling up their sleeves to get the job done.  No, it's the heroes in the serious stuff, who have some serious saving to do, but who spend the first two hundred or so pages running as far and fast as they can whilst whining non-stop who get right up my nose.  They're the ones I wish the writer had strangled at conception.  I felt that way about Jordan's Rand al'Thor, for instance, up until he finally extracted his head from his posterior.

Likewise the heroes with honor stuffed so far up their arses they can't bend over.  Duncan McWanker of the Clan McWanker, anyone?  He rubbed me raw after a time.  Give me a Methos any day.

Your mileage may vary, which is why I throw this out there.  Have at.

And for those who've been considering the job, there's still openings for Wise Readers.  Just shoot me a request at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com and you can join the exclusive band of readers who get to say they were in on it from the beginning.


Silver Fox said...

Here's a main character to both love and hate: Ariane Emory in C.J.Cherryh's Cyteen trilogy (or more) and Regenesis follow-on. And it's because you would never like her as a person (nasty at times, always conspiring toward some goal), but she gets things done and is on the right side (although you may wonder for a while).

Lockwood said...

Heroes without flaws irritate me no end. If you want me to relate to a character, that individual needs to have some character. "Perfect" is not a human attribute.

Nicole said...

Like Lockwood, I abhor heroes who don't have any negative traits. It's unrealistic. Even the hero-iest of heroes in real life has a foible or two. It's what makes them, yanno, real.

Sean G said...

I agree on the whiney heroes, but I do like some reluctant heroes. Two examples from "The Wheel of Time" would be Perrin and Mat. I've never taken to Perrin, and his relationship with Faile has soured on me further. If I wanted to learn more about some sensitive wuss who can't relate to women, I'd be introspective. Mat, on the other hand, is equally reluctant but approaches it with humor and enthusiasm, because he knows he is doing the right thing.

I also agree with disliking the flawless hero. What is the point of that? Where's the conflict? Who can sympathize with someone who doesn't have any flaws? The increasingly ridiculous hero of the "Sword of Truth" series comes to mind.

Unfortunately, if I find myself disliking a hero, I tend to stop reading a book and forget about it. With the exception of the above, where I had an investment in a series before disliking someone too much, it's tough to think of any I don't like because I never got to know them.

Brian said...

What annoys me the most about lead characters is when survive where everyone else doesn't due to some freak action. Once is possible, but not when it is the main narrative thread. Being the last person standing is not heroic.

tim said...

Not everybody looks good in spandex. Beer bellies and camel toes are not a good look. You can't judge a book by its cover. I remember reading a book about a dwarf detective (I'm sorry the character or the name of the series escapes me at the moment. I always thought that was an extreme choice for a hero.