In response to A Guide To Writing Character ArchetypesA Guide To Writing Character Archetypes
Despite what Taylor Swift says, it isn't always exhausting rooting for the anti-heroic fictional characters. Most of the time, it's double the fun!
Whenever I consume a piece of media - I always find myself rooting for the anti-hero. Or maybe if not rooting for them so to speak, they are my favourite character. This happens with almost every piece of media I watch. It's just what I'm drawn to.
What's so special about the anti-hero archetype, you ask?
Well - most of the time they have a great backstory and have experienced some kind of trauma throughout their lives. To me, these are the characters I connect with more. They are more human because of their downfalls. And most of the time, the anti-hero recognises their own flaws.
The most common anti-heroes I like would be Loki and Harley Quinn. But while researching this topic I discovered that The Phantom from Phantom of The Opera is indeed too, classed as an anti-hero. For some reason this surprised me - but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.
Anti-heroes are layered, and most of the time misunderstood (in my eyes, anyway..)
So - here is a rundown of some of my most loved anti-heroes..
Thomas Barrow (Downton Abbey)
If anyone is your classic anti-hero, it is Thomas Barrow from Downton Abbey.
To my shame, I only very recently watched this show. At first, I loathed Barrow. But quickly, he became my favourite character on the show. I found myself... yes, rooting for him despite all he had done. He was merely a man who was liked by none. He had gone through a lot and it just made me connect with him in my own way.
Katherine Pierce (The Vampire Diaries)
If any character caught me by surprise, it's Katherine Pierce. Nina Dobrev did such an amazing job bringing this character to life. A character who is seemingly so different to Elena Gilbert. The contrast is amazing to see and this was a character who never found peace. She was never happy, and that was a tragedy in itself. Despite everything Katherine had done, I still found myself rooting for her.
Klaus Mikaelson (The Originals)
If there's an anti-hero I loved so much from the very beginning, it's him. There are no words to describe how I truly felt when I saw Klaus Mikaelson onscreen for the first time in The Vampire Diaries. Joseph Morgan is just so brilliant an actor, he brought such a poise to this character who seemingly only had bad intentions (at first)
As The Originals was released Klaus' true intentions came to light. Above all, he held family. It was the most important thing for him. Despite all he went through, he ultimately did the most heroic thing he could when he died to save his daughter. (I am still crying about it. Even now.)
So, he may have had tragic tendencies from the beginning - but despite being a bad person, he ultimately did the right thing for his family.
Eli 'Hawk' Moskowitz (Cobra Kai)
I know a villain arc when I see one...
When I first watched Cobra Kai, I instantly became attached to the character of Eli Moskowitz. Then he flipped the script and began to have what I can only describe as being the beginning of his own villain arc in season 2.
Season 3 was the peak of his anti-heroism. Jacob Bertrand did such a good job in making the teens actions vilifying and believable. From being the kid who was bullied, to becoming the bully himself. Hawk truly did a 180 in Cobra Kai's third season which is why that season will always be one I appreciate a lot.
Not only did it showcase how one of my favourite characters in media could so easily be manipulated by others, but it highlighted just how far he was willing to go to reach the top. It showed how the trauma he experienced shaped him into that person - making him his own worst enemy.
So, there you have it.
Anti-heroism is cool in media! If you change your perspective you might just find yourself rooting for characters you never thought you would!