Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Angst Driven Hero

I’d been considering the Wounded Soul archetype recently after someone in my writing chapter mentioned the new vampire show, Moonlight.

A discussion of previous vampire anti-heroes ensued (most notably Spike and Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Personally, I love the new vamp in town, Mick St. John. He’s angst-driven without being a martyr. He’s not as black & white as the previous vamps noted—Spike deliciously demonic while Angel was the “strong, silent” type. More shading, less certainty. Yet he knows where he stands. He just doesn’t have to go on and on whining about it. Which leads to the crux of the matter.

Wounded Souls grate on me. At least for the most part. Not the torch-carrying souls (ala Jim Halpert in The Office). Being a romantic at heart, I have a special squishy-soft spot in my heart for them. *smile* No, I’m talking here about the Lethal Weapon type of hero who puts a gun to their head because they’re just SO gosh darn suicidal and they prey on our emotions with less remorse than an avowed bloodsucker ever could.

Now, this is just my own personal taste. Please forgive if I step on sacred ground (where our wounded soul is no doubt writhing in self-inflicted pain). It’s just I’ve had enough of guys who need to be rescued. I don’t want to be the “woman who chases the blues away.” Puh-lease! Everyone’s got problems, Bucko, time to step up and just deal.

Here’s a great example of a Wounded Soul that doesn't remind me of fingernails down a chalkboard. Michael Weston. The show is Burn Notice (a summer hit on the USA network) and while Michael has his own share of angst, he keeps it nicely contained beneath a cool exterior. Instead of whining about his woes or going off the charts with bizarre, over-the-top antics, he responds with a MacGyver-like efficiency. Sure, he has his issues, but there’s a time and a place, and this ain’t it.

I do get the appeal of the Wounded Puppy leading man. Yet, when the bullets are flying or the bomb’s a’ticking, I don’t want to kick around the meaning of life, love and impending doom. Give me a quick, decisive hero who leaps into action (and not with a self-destructive Kill Me Now recklessness either).

I like heroes who are smart and strong enough to win the battle and live to fight another day. And, lest you think that only damsels in distress dig a ready-to-jump-in-the-fray hero, the leading lady of Burn Notice, Fiona, is a kick-ass heroine who you don't want to cross. She’d kick a Mr. Whiney to the curb so fast you might as well slap a sticker on him: Garage Sale SpecialOne Angst-Driven Hero Crying in His Beer.

This is just me. As I said. Yet I know everyone has a favorite type, along with a cookie-cutter hero that makes them want to scream. Who do love? Who do you hate? What’s your perfect type of hero? Or heroine?

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