My top ten fantasy/literary heroes
Tempus is the Commander of the Sacred Band of Stepsons from Janet Morris's Beyond series, Thieves' World and Sacred Band books. Really he's an anti-hero, at least by modern terms. He is courageous - doing what is needed even if it's unpleasant. He's a true warrior through and through. He fears nothing, but he has his own demons, his own curse - anyone who loves him will die of it and anyone he loves will shun him, or leave him. He is fiercely loyal to his men and to his ideals. He can be tender and kind, or ruthless and terrible.
Frodo begins as a simple hero - a hobbit after adventure and doing what is right. He doesn't give up, even though it likely means his death. I don't think he understands exactly what he is walking into but he does it anyway. He would sacrifice himself for the good of others. In reality there is a lot more to the little hobbit than meets the eye. He's an everyman - initially there is nothing special about him - Frodo isn't a powerful spellcaster, a great swordsman, a prince, a warrior or leader. But still he does what no one else has been able to do - destroy the One Ring, show Gollum some pity and defeat the bad guy.
OK so Count of Monte Cristo isn't fantasy but it is still an amazing book. Again Edmund starts off as ordinary - he's a simple fisherman/sailor who wants to marry the girl he loves and live a good, honest life. Simply by becoming embroiled in politics and intrigue he doesn't understand lands him in prison. He escapes the inescapable and embarks on one of the greatest campaigns of revenge in literature. Through it all the reader wants him to win, wants him to right his wrongs, and he does so. Even so he's not eaten up with hate - he's kind, generous and caring to those he helps and ruthless to his enemies.
Perhaps one of the greatest heroes in mythology. A trickster, a warrior, a lover, a leader, a flawed man who becomes the plaything of gods.
Frankenstein is one of the earliest science fiction books and Mary Shelley's greatest work. A flawed, obsessive man who tries to fight death itself and plays at god with terrible consequences. He's a man ahead of his time.
I love Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Sam Vimes is my favourite character. Again, he's the flawed hero. He likes a drink too much, he's very cynical about everything but he's a good man in a world where truly good men are few. He's funny, in a black humour type of way - seeing his world as it really is but still wanting to save it. Again he's brave, decent and never gives up.
Hazel is a rabbit. Yes a bunny. He's the hero of Watership Down, one of my all-time favourite books. He leads his band of rabbits away from destruction and into the unknown. Hazel faces death, he faces enemies, uncertainty and fear and overcomes them all. He's a simple yet complex hero and embodies the reluctant leader, the visionary - in that he believes Fiver's prophecy and he knows when to fight and when to run.
The heroine of Dracula. She's another one ahead of her time. She's pretty feisty and she doesn't cave. She's compassionate and clever, kind and courageous.
I love Wuthering Heights. Catherine is a product of her time. She can't have the man she loves - he's not her class, he's a foundling and it will demean them both. She marries a far more suitable man - but her heart belongs to Heathcliff. She's a tragic hero - and certainly a flawed one.
Another anti-hero. Actually he's not a nice person but after the way he was treated I'm not surprised. He loves deeply and he's a very emotional man but the world is against him.