Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 29: Antiheroes

What is an Antihero? There are lots of definitions of this word, so Dan boils it down to just three: The Frodo, The Punisher, and The Talented Mister Ripley. And that third definition is the one Brandon believes to be the most correct, at least in the strict literary sense.

This was a difficult ‘cast for Howard because he’s familiar with Frodo and The Punisher, but has no experience with The Talented Mister Ripley beyond movie trailers. He gets by, though. He’s seen a lot of movie trailers.

Have a listen, and learn a lot.

Writing Prompt: Write a true, classically-defined antihero in such a way that Howard will enjoy it.

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61 thoughts on “Writing Excuses Season 3 Episode 29: Antiheroes”

  1. I disagree with all three none of these I see as true anti-heroes.

    Frodo is a tragic hero

    Punisher is an anti-villain

    and Ripley is a magnificent Bastard.

    Great podcast though showcases these types of character’s though.

  2. @Howard

    The one I mentioned earlier.

    Darth Bane is an awful individual who is prepared to commit mass genocide on the jedi and his fellow sith to fulfill his extreme vision. He has no redeeming qualities unless you follow his ethics of strength and power.

    “Equality is a lie…A myth to appease the masses. Simply look around and you will see the lie for what it is! There are those with power, those with the strength and will to lead. And there are those meant to follow—those incapable of anything but servitude and a meager, worthless existence.
    “Equality is a perversion of the natural order!…It binds the strong to the weak. They become anchors that drag the exceptional down to mediocrity. Individuals destined and deserving of greatness have it denied them. They suffer for the sake of keeping them even with their inferiors.
    “Equality is a chain, like obedience. Like fear or uncertainty or self doubt.” ―Bane

    Granted some of the SW lit isn’t spectacular, but I thought this one was ok.

  3. Okay, this might seem weird, but I’ve always found two wildly popular literary characters to fit the mold of the third type of antihero: The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, and Twilight’s Bella Swan.

    While I enjoyed Catcher in the Rye for the most part, and seemingly everyone in the world gushes about how identifiable Holden is, I found him very whiny and self-centered. From beginning to middle to end, he complains about how much better he is than everyone else (that he also tried to force his company on). He’s a rich kid that gets kicked out of school but takes no personal responsibility for it. The only people he genuinely enjoys are children, which is nice, but not very conventional. Maybe he’s the embodiment of our cynical sides (and our failing sides), but the cynical side of ourselves that gets kicked out of school, fails with the opposite sex, gets beat up, loses our money, and hates everyone in the world while begging to hang out with them, is a bit of an antihero in the classical sense.

    Bella Swan is taking the character of Holden Caulfield, removing anything witty, 3-dimensional, or hidden gem of wisdom, and replacing it with even more angst, stupidity, and selfishness. Nothing is important to her but her own feelings. She’s mean to her friends, careless to her father. Edward saves her life, and she gets angry with him for hiding something, because her desire to figure something out is more important to her than the privacy of the man that saved her. When Edward leaves her, she spends months ignoring her friends and torturing her father, then she teases Jake into loving her, only to spurn him. She falls for very simpleminded traps and ignores every instance of advice to the wiser people around her. She is one of the most selfish and stupid characters ever to have been deemed protagonist. Antihero.

  4. Humbert Humbert from Lolita? Would he be a classical anti-hero? I mean, I hope there isn’t any wish fulfillment there. And he really isn’t a Hero. I think.

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