And so it came to pass that a load of edits for my follow up to Ten Ruby Trick landed in my email and I was knee deep in them. And lo! I forgot I was supposed to do a blog post. Meep!
Luckily, something came to the rescue just in time. I’m a member of a few fantasy forums, and this particular one had a discussion about heroes and grittiness, among other things.
Or rather, protagonists who aren’t heroes. The trend in straight, non romantical fantasy, seems to be for antier and antier “heroes” (or it seems so perhaps, especially this side of the pond). Or main characters, or just protagonists. To follow in the footsteps of someone unlikeable, perhaps irretrievably so. And it made me wonder, just what is it that makes a character likeable? And how far to the unlikeable do we each like our characters?
Thomas Covenant was too far for me. The only redeeming thing was he wasn’t written to make what he did look at all likeable or heroic. He just happened to be the main character.
Other times, the bad guy has so much charisma (or all the best lines) that he’s fascinating to watch—such as Hannibal Lector. It worked for me in Silence of the Lambs, but not in the films where we saw more of him. Because he was only in small doses, his awfulness didn’t overwhelm me.
So for you (when and if you read non romantic fantasy), what makes a hero heroic, and would you read a protagonist that wasn’t, and wasn’t even trying to be?
Julia Knight writes fantasy and historical adventure with dollops of romance, and her next release, The Viking's Sacrifice is coming in January from Carina. You can find out more about her here.