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View Full Version : Anti-Heroes or Lovable Rogues?



JellyPooga
2009-04-23, 01:36 PM
The Anti-Hero trope is fairly hard to pin down, I'll admit, but I heard today that a lot of people peg Han Solo as an Anti-Hero. I just can't fathom why! I'll certainly put him as a Rogue, Mercenary or Scoundrel, but an Anti-Hero he is not.

The Man With No Name is a definitive Anti-Hero, alongside most of the protagonists of the spaggheti westerns (it was rather the point of the genre), such as the Avenger from High Plains Drifter. Dirty Harry and The Punisher are also Anti-Heros, but Han Solo? Just no.

I was just wondering about the Playgrounds opinion on the subject...who else is an anti-hero? who is not? Do you dis/agree with my opinion on the subject? Discuss.

BRC
2009-04-23, 01:46 PM
The way I see it, an Anti-Hero is defined by somebody who does heroic things (or tries to), but for non-heroic reasons OR with non-heroic methods.

For example, Rorschach is an anti-hero. He does Heroic things (or at least he thinks he does, this is an argument that could go on for awhile). For Heroic reasons (his own sense of justice), but with non-heroic methods (beating up people in the bar for information).

Han Solo started out as an anti-hero. Doing Heroic things (Helping them free Leia and escape from the death star), for non-heroic reasons (Profit was what origionally motivated him). But, the moment he comes back and saves luke during the death star attack, he becomes a full-blown hero.
A quick summary
A Hero kills the dragon to save the village. An Anti-Hero Kills the dragon to loot it's horde. An Anti-Hero kills the dragon to save the village, but does so by knocking out some villagers, pumping them full of drugs, and leaving them near the dragon's cave so it falls asleep after eating them.

Lord Seth
2009-04-23, 02:54 PM
Well the main reason Han was so obsessed over money wasn't completely greed, a large part of it was because he had to pay off Jabba to get bounty hunters off of him.

Closet_Skeleton
2009-04-23, 03:59 PM
Anti-hero can mean many things (tvtropes has a list of some of the obvious ones (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SlidingScaleOfAntiHeroes)) from main characters who aren't heroes to complete heroes who wear grey and black.

chiasaur11
2009-04-23, 04:16 PM
Well the main reason Han was so obsessed over money wasn't completely greed, a large part of it was because he had to pay off Jabba to get bounty hunters off of him.

Which was still totally looking out for #1. Not the noblest of motives.

Agreed on the straight up hero by the end bit, though.

Tyrant
2009-04-23, 05:46 PM
Don't forget that Han did shoot first. Of course I would shoot first too (and probably several more shots as necessary) if I were confronted by a bounty hunter, but it isn't the most noble way to end that confrontation. Agreed on the turn to total hero at the end.

Eldrys
2009-04-23, 06:03 PM
would belkar be cosidered an anti-hero, or a new category of "that insane sholess god of war wh just happens to hang out with the good guys." I'm pretty sure that by the OP's definition of anti-hero V would also be one, right choices for wrong reasons.

UnChosenOne
2009-04-23, 11:08 PM
Aren't Belkar a Heroic Sociopath (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroicSociopath).

Starscream
2009-04-24, 03:49 AM
I always thought Deadpool (my avatar) was a pretty good example of an anti-hero, even if he is a comedic take on the trope.

I think to be a proper anti-hero you need to have enough negative traits to balance your positive ones, but then usually come out on the side of good anyway.

Han Solo may be a scoundrel, but there is never really any doubt that he is a "good guy". He's greedy, but needs the money to save his life. He's a criminal, but so are all the heroes, what with rebelling against their evil government. He shot first, but it was still self defense. I can't think of a single "evil" act he performs at any point.

Whereas Deadpool is against the heroes almost as often as he is with them. He doesn't care who dies in the crossfire when he fights. He has assassinated people who were no worse than most because he was getting paid. He imprisoned an old blind woman for years and used to put her in a room full of sharp objects when she disobeyed. All these traits point to a genuinely evil person.

But despite all that he desperately wants to be better. As time goes by he tries to avoid killing people, makes a few genuine friendships, saves the world once or twice (without getting paid even), and overall begins to show signs that underneath multiple layers of psycho there is a decent human being, or at least someone who could become one. But he has enough villainous relapses (and is still unquestionably insane), so he never can really lose his "bad guy" aspects.

Phase
2009-04-24, 05:45 AM
The Anti-Hero IS hard to pin down. You should basically plug in the following:

Is X doing something I consider to be overall morally right, or to some better end?

If so, is X going about it for himself, or others?

If for others, is X using methods you find morally ambiguous?

Antiheroes tend to fit in well with this model.

averagejoe
2009-04-24, 08:40 AM
I think to be a proper anti-hero you need to have enough negative traits to balance your positive ones, but then usually come out on the side of good anyway.

This is also how you write a hero.

The problem with talking about anti-heroes is that what we perceive as heroic is changing. For example, Achilles is basically the original hero, and he spent a lot of time moping in his tent because his favorite wench was killed until his friend died so he ran out, killed a buncha people, and desecrated the remains of his friend's killer. Once Batman was considered an anti-hero because he was more of a shadowy vigilante than overtly heroic, but these days calling him anything but heroic would be a hard sell.

That said, Han is an anti-hero, at least in the beginning. One has to understand that an anti-hero isn't a hero who does morally ambiguous things, it is a protagonist whose character differs from traditional heroism. You don't have to be Deadpool or the Punisher to be anti-heroic. Han has plenty of anti-heroic qualities.

JellyPooga
2009-04-24, 09:15 AM
I beg to differ. An anti-hero is not just a protagonist who doesn't conform to the 'hero' stereotype. An anti-hero is a character that, despite his/her failings morally, is still perceived as hero material.

For (a classic) example: The Man with No Name from the dollars trilogy. He's a mercenary, he has no qualms about killing or double-crossing for his own gain, he doesn't really care about anyone else beyond what they can provide for him. His moral outlook is ambiguous at best. Despite this, he still comes across as the 'hero' of the films because he's still better than everyone else; he doesn't kill for no reason, he keeps to his word (to the letter if not the intention), he gives a dying man a last smoke (before stealing his poncho) and even inexplicably gives a woman a wad of cash and releases her from de facto slavery 'because she reminded him of someone he once knew'.

Han Solo, on the other hand, is just a bit mercenary. Aside from this, Han is clean cut, loyal, and charismatic. He has his own code, which he sticks to. At the end of the day, he's a moral man (by his own definition, admittedly, but he doesn't actually do anything reprehensible). He thinks of himself as a hero (though he'd never admit it) so he is one (consider the "scoundrel" line...the whole point of it is that he knows he's really a "good" man, but the image he's trying to portray is one of a rogue, so being called a scoundrel inflates his ego rather than making him ashamed), whereas an anti-hero does not (think of themselves as a hero, that it).

averagejoe
2009-04-24, 09:44 AM
I beg to differ. An anti-hero is not just a protagonist who doesn't conform to the 'hero' stereotype. An anti-hero is a character that, despite his/her failings morally, is still perceived as hero material.

I (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/anti-hero) don't (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antihero) know (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_anti-heroes) where (http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/lit_terms_A.html) you're (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/27600/antihero) getting (http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/antihero) this (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SlidingScaleOfAntiHeroes). Your definition of anti-hero is very narrow. Though these are anti-heroes, it doesn't encompass all that is anti-hero.

Harperfan7
2009-04-25, 12:25 AM
I think the distinction between anti-heroes and lovable rogues/heroes is just whether or not they are good on the alignment grid.

Anti-heroes can be neutral or evil, lovable rogues are almost always CG, and normal heroes are just plain good of any sort. Also, just because a guy is considered a hero doesn't mean he's not an antihero - a lot of "heroes" you see in movies and tv are actually anti-heroes, but they never get labeled as one.

hamishspence
2009-04-25, 10:36 AM
Han's behaviour tends to be less cruel than a large proportion of antiheroes. In the two prequel trilogies (the Han Solo Adventures trilogy and the A. C. Crispin Han Solo trilogy, even when he professes selfish motivation, he tends toward helping others, often at his own cost.

On the other hand, as a drug smuggler (glitterstim spice is highly addictive, grants very temporary mind-reading powers and can cause psychosis) he's a pretty shady character for a hero.