Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How do you take YOUR heroes?

FIRST -- Congrats to ERIN L, winner of last week's giveaway! Now, back to today's post . . .

A while back I posted about Bulletproof Kinks, and though I didn't list it at the time, I think one of my major kinks is the Jaded Hero. Lately, a certain TV show has made me wonder about the Jaded vs. Idealistic Hero, and what sort of person is drawn to each.

First of all, the Jaded Hero has Gothic origins (Gothic is another bullet-proof kink of mine!) in that it seems to trace back to the Byronic Hero. Characteristics of the Byronic Hero include:

-- Distaste for social institutions and norms
-- Exiled, outcast, or outlaw status
-- Arrogant
-- Cunning and able to adapt
-- Cynical
-- Self-destructive
-- Troubled past

(Learn more here)

I've been a fan of the Byronic Hero since college, but long before I ever followed Childe Harold on his pilgrimage, or pondered the Byronic appeal of Milton's Satan, or swooned over the seductive powers of an irascible land baron named Edward Rochester, I fell in love with a particular Jaded Hero named . . . Han Solo. He was world-weary, sarcastic, pessimistic, living outside the law, prone to act before thinking, and generally dark and dangerous. The sexiness of this was slightly lost on me back when I first saw Star Wars, but by the time Empire Strikes Back came to theaters, I realized that Han Solo had it going on. (Princess Leia eventually clued in, too!)

The opposite of Han Solo was young idealist Luke Skywalker -- earnest, thoughtful, and principled. Luke was a dreamer who was more concerned with saving the world than his own skin. And he didn't have a problem expressing his feelings. In fact, he seemed to have the problem of TOO MANY FEELINGS -- at least until Yoda's training finally kicked in.

I see this Idealistic vs. Jaded Hero dichotomy in films and TV all the time, and always, always I am drawn to the darker, flawed, emotionally constipated Jaded Hero. But then I have friends who most often seem to go for the Idealist. (Which makes us very compatible in our fangirling.) Where do you stand?

[This is where I wrack my brain for Idealistic/Jaded Heroes from TV and film]

Jack O'Neill (jaded) or Daniel Jackson (idealistic)? (Stargate SG-1)

Stefan (idealistic) or Damon (jaded)? (Vampire Diaries) (FYI: I've met ONE person who goes for Stefan!)

Steve Rogers (idealistic) or Tony Stark (jaded)? (Avengers) (Don't even get me started on Loki!)

Dean or Sam Winchester? (Supernatural, aka "Star Wars in Truck Stop America" and my latest FIXATION*) I don't even have to tell you who's the jaded one, right? The scruff and averted gaze speak volumes.

So, Jaded or Idealist? Can you explain why you go one way or the other? (I can't, really.) My theory is that most people are drawn to one or the other almost exclusively (this certainly seems true among my friends), but perhaps there are people who flip flop? If so, EXPLAIN! Also, it seems no matter what side you're on, there's always a moment (or episode/season) when the jaded hero has an outpouring of FEELINGS, or the idealistic hero goes dark. And those moments are very special, my friends.

I know I'm not saying anything new here. My main purpose is to collect data. Can you think of examples of books, movies, or TV shows that feature this hero (or heroine) dichotomy? Seems more prevalent in SciFi/Fantasy. I want to make a list!

*This is all Glenda's fault.

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]


  1. Oh, I LOVE Dean Winchester! Plus, Sam's hair is all over the place these days.

    Perhaps Angel and Spike from Buffy would make the grade, as would Will and Jem from the Clockwork Angel series. Plus Dean and Jess from Gilmore Girls. I'm more of a Jaded fan, perhaps because the Jaded hero usually has a secret twisted kind of idealism that he hides from everyone.

    1. I'm more of a Jaded fan, perhaps because the Jaded hero usually has a secret twisted kind of idealism that he hides from everyone.

      You are a kindred spirit! Yes, yes, yes, I agree.

      I think Angel and Spike fit well. They are of that trend where the dark, dangerous anti-hero becomes romantic hero (he's got warm and fuzzy depths!), but then gets so gooey that he must be supplanted by an even darker and more dangerous anti-hero. What a fun ride!

  2. I <3 me some Damon, it's almost unhealthy.

  3. I'm usually a jaded girl. I first fell in love with Han Solo. Then Rhett Butler. I thought Luke Skywalker and Ashley Wilkes were big ol' babies. I do switch on occasion if the idealist has a twist in his character.

    Here's an example of YOU switching: You prefer Peeta to Gale in The Hunger Games!

    1. But I never saw Gale as dark and jaded. In the book, Gale is the familiar friend and Peeta is the dark horse. I liked the fact that Katniss was competing with Peeta and couldn't trust him. It's only over time that she learns he's always had a crush on her.

      It's MOVIE PEETA who is all smarmy and squishy (as much as I love the actor, he is NOT my Peeta!). By the way, you have to see the "Honest Movie Trailer" for HUNGER GAMES. It gets a little crass, but after all our chats about the movie, I think you'll appreciate it!

    2. That is hilarious! I like it better than the movie!

      We must have the Peeta/Gale conversation soon.

  4. Sonia you are well versed in literature and film. I am sadly lacking in this area but my two cents are that the jaded heroes make fun bad boy boyfriends and the idealists better husbands. Just a thought. A recent jaded hero turned idealist might be James Bond in SkyFall. Thoughts?

    1. I think of James Bond as nearly 100% jaded, but I liked how in Casino Royale we saw his transformation from almost lighthearted "blunt intstrument"--open to true love, even!--to dark and vengeful killing machine.

      I need to watch Skyfall again to see these hints of idealism.