We already have a Hero Tropes and Heroes Index, both of which seem both woefully lacking in tropes and completely useless. I think something should be done but the TRS is full so lets just make something better/more useful here and possibly the other indexes can be deleted or revised later or something.This index/helpful notes page is still under construction, and considering it's massiveness, free to edit! (within reason, should you want to make huge changes in structure, please consult with others in the comments) Feel free to give suggestions and missed tropes (there are tons of them) as well as edit out type-os!
The Protagonist, (also usually The Hero), is the Main Character of the story, the person we are supposed to sympathize with as they go through this journey which we are taking time from our lives to read or watch or play through. But just like people aren't all the same, protagonists aren't all the same. And that's definitely a good thing: if you don't like one type of hero, you can always try another!
Protagonists Versus HeroesWhile The Protagonist and The Hero are usually the same person and therefore treated as synonyms, they actually refer to two separate things. The Hero and its respective opponent, The Villain, are designated by their Morality while the terms The Protagonist and its respective opponent, The Antagonist, refer to the characters' Role In The Story. Most protagonists are 'good' because society values these traits, but Protagonists can fall anywhere on the morality spectrum.
- The Hero: This is the generic hero who is on the side of good and righteousness. While this character may stumble, in general he is a good person who tries is best to fight against the forces of evil.
- The Ideal Hero: This character is as good as good can get and we admire him for that. Though sometimes his dedication to goodness and justice can be, frankly, difficult to believe or relate to.
- Designated Hero: This character is presented to audience as a generic, good hero, but this portrayal seems at odds with what is actually happening in the plot.
- The Anti-Hero: This type of hero isn't squeaky clean by any means and has some questionable traits and behaviors which disqualify him from being a straight Hero. While he usually still fights for good, his methods can sometimes be pretty evil.
- The Villain: He's a bad guy, no question about it. His actions are cruel and without sympathy, his goals horrifying. He is against the forces of good and revels in doing evil. While it's rare he is all bad all the time, it's also rare that he is redeemable.
- Designated Villain: This character is presented to audience as a generic, evil villain, but this portrayal seems at odds with what he actually does.
- The Anti-Villain: This type of Villain isn't completely evil, like the typical villain with no redeeming qualities. No, we feel some empathy for him. He may have a worthy goal just achieve it in terrible ways, or show a side to him that is admirable and even heroic.
By Role in the Story:
- The Protagonist: The main character of the story. Usually the viewpoint character and person we are supposed to sympathize with.
- Deuteragonist: If two characters share the spotlight equally then one is this. There are also names for third and more characters who do this. A particular type is The Aragorn.
- Non-P.O.V. Protagonist: A main protagonist who isn't given a viewpoint.
- Decoy Protagonist: We thought he was going to be the protagonist but...well, he's not.
- Pursued Protagonist: He's not just a decoy, he's being chased.
- Designated Protagonist Syndrome: The protagonist becomes overshadowed by other characters with more interesting storylines.
- Supporting Protagonist: Someone is the hero, but it's not this guy. No, he routinely gives the spotlight up to other characters who actually do things as he experiences the story unfolding around him.
- Pinball Protagonist: He might be the main character, but he is not driving this ship. He doesn't have any influence on what happens in the story at all, things happen to him, and he just reacts.
- Useless Protagonist: He literally cannot do anything to advance the plot himself, he just watches other characters do it. He might as well not even be there.
- The Antagonist: The character who puts obstacles in the way of the main character, and usually we aren't supposed to like him. Still, without him the story would be pretty short.
- No Antagonist: The obstacle in the story isn't represented by a character, but is probably abstract, non-sentient or conceptual, like a natural disaster or internal struggle. Removing even this from the story simply creates a total absence of Conflict, which would make it barely qualify as a story at all.
- Hero Protagonist: When the The Hero and The Protagonist are the same person. This is pretty much the default, since in general we like our viewpoint characters to be good guys.
- Villain Antagonist: When The Villain and The Antagonist are the same person. Also the default, since we usually only like to imagine bad guys could get in the way of good people.
- Villain Protagonist: When the Villain and The Protagonist are the same person. This character isn't on the side of good in the least but we are seeing the story through his perspective. He will happily perform evil actions and in fact his story usually follows him in the process of trying to do something bad, or at least illegal, things to a good character.
- Hero Antagonist: When the The Hero and The Antagonist are the same person. He's the hero fighting for the forces of good, doing his duty to protect citizens and whatnot from villains. It just so happens that he is against our rather villainous main characters.
- Rogue Protagonist: A protagonist that was once a hero is a villain and antagonist in the sequel.
Additional Tropes: Consequences of a Character being a Protagonist
- Can't Drop the Hero: Often the main character in Video Games can't be switched out of your party.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Protagonists and other Heroes always have to try to save the day.
- The Main Characters Do Everything: A byproduct of being the main character is all the cool stuff you get to do.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: When you're the protagonist, you get to bias the story in your favor.
- A Protagonist Is Ryu: Less a consequence of being a protagonist as it is a consequence of being named Ryu. You don't really have a choice, you will be The Hero if your name is Ryu.
- My Hero Zero: If his name is 'Zero' he's probably a hero.
- Second Year Protagonist: Most High School protagonists will be in their second year.
- Hero Insurance: Heroes never have to pay for damages.
- No Hero Discount: When you're a hero, everything is full price.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: If you're a hero, you probably carry a sword.
- Never Be a Hero: if he doesn't have superpowers, than he won't be a hero.
- Ugly Hero, Good-Looking Villain: If the hero is ugly, the villain is good looking.
- Hometown Hero: The hero is from where the audience is from.
- Plot Armor: If you're the hero, you probably won't die, otherwise the story wouldn't last very long.
What They Do And How They Do ItThere's no point having characters if they don't do anything, and many heroes (from this point on 'hero' will refer to both to a 'good character' and a 'protagonist') are defined by their actions within the story and how they advance through the plot. This can include how heroes effect the methods they use to achieve their goals and arrive at the climax of the story. Most heroes use a number of methods, but usually one or two will stand out as their go-to solution for solving problems.
- Celibate Hero: The hero doesn't engage in romance or sex at all.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: This Hero collects (cough steals)everything, just in case they need it later. Tends to show up in Video Games.
- Hero Stole My Bike: In particular the hero 'steals' transportation when in the middle of chase scenes.
- Heroic Mime: One thing he doesn't do? Talk. Ever.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The hero sacrifices his life.
- Magnetic Hero: This Hero attracts various other characters to their side, and by the end they've amassed quite a group of stalwart True Companions.
- Punch-Clock Hero: He's only a hero from 9 to 5, people.
- A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: The main character swoops in to lead the forces of something (probably good) to battle or revolution or whatever. He's your good ol' Leader Archetype.
- Scrap Heap Hero: The hero suffers a Heroic B.S.O.D. that lasts more than the usual and retires from heroism. However, due to a major event, The Hero returns to save the day and may do so for the rest of the story.
By Method of Goal Fulfillment
- Action Hero: This character uses physical combat in order to achieve their goals. They are usually Badass fighters by their climaxes, if they don't start out that way from the beginning, and more often then not a Final Battle is involved in achieving their goal.
- Guile Hero: This character uses cleverness, trickery and manipulation in order to achieve their goals. They are usually chessmasters and tricksters who outsmart their opponents with subtle cunning, letting others do the work for them.
- Science Hero: This character uses scientific knowledge and new inventions in order to achieve their goals. They are usually scientists and rationalists that subvert Science Is Bad. Usually an invention or application of their scientific knowledge is what saves the day.
- CompassionHero (AKA The Messiah): This character uses love, friendship and compassion in order to achieve their goals. They use The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love to get opponents to back down and join their side. They tend to perform (or try to perform) Heroic Sacrifices to save the day.
- Terror Hero: This character uses psychological intimidation and fear in order to achieve their goals. In all probability, he's an antihero.
And Then What Happened?We like it when characters do things, but nobody is fully in control of their world. The same goes for protagonists, who are as interesting for what happens to them as what they choose to do themselves. These heroes are defined by what their role in the plot does to them, and how their stories play out. A very common storyline is The Hero's Journey.
By Plot and Events
- A Hero Is Born: The hero gets born. This is usually one of the more important things that can happen to a hero.
- Amnesiac Hero: At some point he gets amnesia.
- Boring Invincible Hero: What doesn't happen to this characater, is ever lose. This makes him boring.
- Failure Hero: The hero always fails.
- Fallen Hero: The hero becomes a villain.
- The Hero Dies: Our protagonist dies. It's probably very sad.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: The hero is mistakenly seen as a menace or villain.
- Homeless Hero: The hero is a transient drifter who walks the earth and doesn't have a home.
- Hurting Hero: The hero suffers a personal tragedy.
- Infected Protagonist: The hero is infected with The Virus and will surely die.
- Tragic Hero: The heroes story ends tragically.
- Unlikely Hero: The hero is...well, a hero, and that is odd, considering the type of person he is.
- Summon Everyman Hero: The hero is a regular person who is summoned to another land to save it.
- Folk Hero: The hero becomes a legend.
- What the Hell, Hero?: The hero does something very unheroic.
The Tropes make the Character
By Physical Attributes
- Red-Headed Hero: The hero has red hair.
- Featureless Protagonist: We don't know anything about him, probably not even gender, much less characterization.
- Heroic Albino: The hero is an albino, averting Evil Albino.
- Chaste Hero: The hero is Oblivious to Love
- Comedic Hero: This hero is a bumbling moron who succeeds despite their best efforts.
- Broken Hero: This hero has suffered a lot but usually hides it under a cheerful mask.
- Byronic Hero: A dark and brooding character with a definite rebellious attitude and Anti-Hero tendencies.
- Humble Hero: A hero who doesn't like the spotlight.
- Loser Protagonist: The protagonist isn't the most successful, attractive, socially adept character around.
- This Loser Is You: This protagonist is not just a loser, it's emphasized by the work and portrayed negatively on purpose.
- Nerd Action Hero:
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: He's a jerk ass and all around horrible human being, but he's funny.
By Other Attributes
- Barbarian Hero: The hero is an uncouth Barbarian. Or maybe a 'couth' one.
- Historical Hero Upgrade: he actually existed, but this version of him is more heroic.
- Nazi Protagonist: Oddly enough, the hero is a Nazi.
- Kid Hero: The hero is just a kid.
- Secular Hero: The hero isn't especially religious.
- Super Hero: He has superpowers and fights for good.
- Henshin Hero: He only has his powers when he transforms
- Swiss Army Hero
Related Hero tropes
Still Under Construction
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