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[[quoteright:266:[[Franchise/StarWars http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Luke_Skywalker.jpg]]]]
[-[[caption-width-right:266:He's Luke Skywalker. He's here to rescue you.]]-]

->''"I don’t just think I’m a hero. I will be '''the''' hero."''
-->-- '''Touma Kamijou''', ''LightNovel/ACertainMagicalIndex''

This person is a [[TitleDrop hero]], pure and simple. They're almost always right, are a friend to all their teammates, and [[IdealHero morally superior]]--''without'' the usual flaws of GoodIsDumb or WellIntentionedExtremist, unless it's a comedic work. They have a well-rounded skill set. They're not as [[SuperStrength strong]] as TheBigGuy, or as [[SuperIntelligence intelligent]] as TheSmartGuy, or as [[TheSocialExpert sensitive and socially adept]] as TheChick, but they're close. They can personally accomplish a variety of goals, but their real superpower is getting [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters the whole diverse set of personalities]] to [[TheKirk focus and pull together]]. They'll always know who to ask for help, and when--and ''usually'' how. Most often, they will be TheProtagonist but [[SupportingProtagonist there are exceptions]] [[VillainProtagonist to this rule]]. Just as often, they will be TheLeader or otherwise the [[MagneticHero shining star]] that holds the RagtagBunchOfMisfits together, but [[SupportingLeader there are exceptions to this as well]]. In a [[PowerWalk team lineup]], they will be front and center.

The concept of The Hero is [[OlderThanDirt very old]] and every culture and peoples have had individuals they identified as heroes. On account of SocietyMarchesOn and ValuesDissonance, the notion of what the hero signifies has changed and diverged a great deal from the ancient world to the early modern world to the present day. Heroes in the ancient world were compelling because they embodied virtues and qualities common to the experience of people at the time (War, Violence, Survival) whereas later generations would seek idealized values from their heroes because of their desire and yearning for a better world.

In [[TheTeam Team Trope]] dynamics and speculative fiction you may notice powers and skills common to the hero, including:

* In many games or settings, they'll be a JackOfAllStats; a well-balanced fighter with decent power and speed, and sometimes some [[MagicKnight ability at magic]].
* Most of the time, they'll use a [[HeroesPreferSwords sword or sword-like weapon]] as their weapon of choice, even in science-fiction settings where this makes less sense than a gun.
* In a fight, [[InvincibleHero they will ALWAYS win]] ([[HeroKiller say 99.99% chance]]). Even if they lose, bet your life on it that they will win the HeroicRematch.
* They will usually wear either [[RedIsHeroic red]] or [[BlueIsHeroic blue]] (sometimes [[PrimaryColorChampion both]]), and if they've got a [[AstonishinglyAppropriateAppearance theme]] or powers, expect them to be [[PlayingWithFire fire-based]]. [[ShockAndAwe Electricity]] and [[LightEmUp light]]/[[HolyHandGrenade holy]] are also common ElementalPowers for the hero.

The Hero is most [[AlwaysMale often male]] and TheChick is usually [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan in love with him]]. The primary romantic plot in the team will be between The Hero and TheChick, with TheLancer sometimes [[LoveTriangle rounding out a triangle]]. The Hero might also be a ChasteHero or a CelibateHero as an additional complication to romantic subplots.

If the Hero has too many of the "positive" qualities listed above, they may degenerate into a MartyStu. If they're too generic, then they're an EveryMan (but please note that the EveryMan does not have to be this trope or TheProtagonist). They are sometimes the OnlySaneMan trying to keep TheTeam together because they live in DysfunctionJunction. Because TheLancer is, by definition, The Hero's foil, The Hero and TheLancer usually have a special chemistry, either a BashBrothers relationship or RedOniBlueOni. They are often [[TheRival rivals]] with a strong mutual respect for each other, and are sometimes HeterosexualLifePartners. They are likely to argue about who is TheLeader, but as stated above, this role usually goes to the hero.

The Hero does not ''have'' to be TheLeader. Indeed, since VillainsActHeroesReact, the hero often arrives on the scene [[YouCantThwartStageOne a little too late]], so his role and function in the story is more or less reactive and predetermined rather than ones that have been set or chosen by him which is counterintuitive to the role of TheLeader. When heroes are leaders expect them to be FrontlineGeneral or BadassInCharge. When they are merely part of a crew, expect them to start out as something of TheLoad if they're a MouthyKid or TheFool, but don't worry--in time, they will reveal their great potential, eventually [[MagneticHero swaying]] friend [[DefeatMeansFriendship and foe]] alike to their cause. Even if they need [[CharacterDevelopment significant growing up]] to reach that point. Eventually, TheLeader they may very well become. If there's a character [[RuleOfCool cooler]] than the Hero, that character is generally TooCoolToLive. See also TheAce, TheKirk, MessianicArchetype, TheChosenOne, and HeroProtagonist. A {{superhero}} is, by the catch-all definition, a hero (often with superpowers) who dedicates their very life to... well, being a hero.

'''Note:''' It is important to remember that while the hero is usually also TheProtagonist, they are not necessarily one and the same. Whereas the hero is defined by the character traits described above, TheProtagonist is defined by their central role in the story. In ''Franchise/StarWars'', for instance, Luke Skywalker is an archetypical example of The Hero and is more or less the MainCharacter of the original trilogy, but the {{prequel}} trilogy establishes the more [[AntiHero antiheroic Anakin Skywalker]] as TheProtagonist of the film series as a whole, even though [[VillainProtagonist he is a villain for more than half of the saga]]. See SupportingProtagonist for instances in which this is the case.


[[folder: Note: ]]
''' A character can be The Hero of the story without being part of a FiveManBand. Also the generic namesake for ThingsIWillDoIfIAmEverTheHero.

* TheHero/AnimeAndManga
* TheHero/VideoGames
* TheHero/WesternAnimation


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The MarvelUniverse has not one, but ''two'' characters who fulfill the trope:
** Steve "ComicBook/CaptainAmerica" Rogers, former leader of the Howling Commandos, (generally) the present-day leader of Comicbook/TheAvengers and the most [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment heroic hero]] in the MarvelUniverse. He tends to stand out because Marvel is a ''big'' fan of the BeingGoodSucks trope and is well-known for its variety of (well-nuanced and varied) AntiHero, VillainProtagonist, FallenHero and [[TheAtoner reformed villain]] characters.
** Franchise/SpiderMan: If Steve Rogers is the [[AllLovingHero Soul]] of the Marvel heroes, Peter Parker is the [[IncorruptiblePurePureness Heart]]. We're talking about a guy who preaches the idea of responsibility, pushes himself to his limits in the name of justice and morality and is able to rally even the most cynical of anti-heroes. Even Cap has expressed admiration at Spider-Man's heroism.
* [[FriendlyNeighborhoodVampire Pearl Jones]] in ''ComicBook/AmericanVampire'' is a straightforward and heroic protagonist who interestingly shares the position of the main character with [[VillainProtagonist Skinner Sweet]], in a [[{{Foil}} stark contrast]].
%%* Archie Andrews from ''Franchise/ArchieComics''.
* More than anyone else in the ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' mythos, the Silver Agent is '''the''' paragon of the heroic ideal that all other heroes strive to achieve. The Agent's influence is so powerful that it inspires others ''millennia'' after his passing.
* Paulie from ''ComicBook/{{Circles}}'' is a bold and shining example. Most of his actions and motivations are heroic and philanthropic.
* Alex Elder in ''{{ComicBook/Crimson}}'' is a vampire boy destined to save the world... Whether he likes it or not.
* ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' serves this role as the primary agent for the [[WhoYouGonnaCall BRPD]] and despite being a demon destined to cause the Apocalypse, he is so pure and heroic that his blood cause lilies to sprout from the ground.
* The original line in ''Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica'' consisted of seven characters who all fit this type in their own comics. Franchise/{{Superman}}, Franchise/{{Batman}}, Franchise/WonderWoman, Franchise/TheFlash, GreenLantern, Comicbook/{{Aquaman}}, and ComicBook/MartianManhunter. [=Superman=] would traditionally be '''THE''' Hero in this situation but, for example, GreenLantern Kyle Rayner filled this role as a sort of KidHero during Morrison's run, being new and being a replacement for the League's original Lantern Hal Jordan. In lineups with only one of these seven, that hero tends to be The Hero.
* Monica in ''ComicBook/MonicasGang'', appropriately enough. She is the title character and the main protagonist, and while she can be somewhat bratty, she is a good kid underneath.
%%* Quantum from ''ComicBook/QuantumAndWoody'', though he's often deflated by Woody.
* ''ComicBook/{{Reborn}}'': Bonnie Black is the prophesized heroine that will save the afterlife realm of Adystria from the Dark Lord Golgotha.
* ''Franchise/{{Superman}}''. ''Every'' hero in comic books, at one point or another, has been compared specifically to Superman, either in how he's similar or how he's different. Even in the case of antiheroes and indy comics, as more often than not, the first thing they'll do is take a swipe at the [=Superman=] mythos. The entire genre of superhero comics starts with ''him''. And that's why Superman will always be the greatest, most iconic representation of a superhero.
* Of the ''ComicBook/XMen'' universe, ''ComicBook/{{Cyclops}}'' was once the Hero, while Professor X was the Big Good: both characters have undergone a lot of reconstruction and retooling recently.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': Asuka wants to turn Shinji in the hero she knows he may be in lieu of the wimp he usually behaves like. At the beginning, he is not enthused about the idea but later he decides he wants to become a hero for her.
-->'''Shinji''':''“You want a hero? I can be one. You want the Shinji who eats Angels for breakfast? That can be me. That will be me. I can do anything now. Now that I have a cause, a reason to start over new.”''
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': Shinji. Main character and pilot of the strongest HumongousMecha in the series, he finds his motivation to become a hero after hooking up with Asuka.
* In the ActionizedSequel ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'', Calvin takes on this role, as well as TheLeader.
* ''Fanfic/TheChildOfLove'': Shinji, who is determined to try to be a better person and fight to protect the woman he loves and their baby.
* In ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'', Shinji is the hero. He reluctantly joins NERV to fight [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Cthulhu and co]] and save mankind.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': In this fic Shinji takes the role. The main character and the AcePilot.
* ''[[Fanfic/GodsAngelsAndKings Hail To The King]]'': Shinji. In this story ''Series/ZoneFighter'' bonds with him and teaches him to be a hero. Shinji matures and learns to be more confident, more selfless and braver.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': Shinji. He tries to be a good person and making the right thing, and the fate of humankind rests on his shoulders.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': In this crossover Shinji is ''Franchise/{{Superman}}''. Thanks to the obligations and responsibilities his vast powers entail he matures and becomes a symbol of hope, courage, and determination.
* In ''Fanfic/NeonGenesisEvangelionGenocide'', Shinji plays the hero role, fighting the latest [[spoiler:creations of SEELE]] to save humanity.
* ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'': After going back to the past, Shinji is determined to help and protect his family and save the world this time.
* ''Enterprise'' is both this and the BigGood in ''Fanfic/PacificWorldWarIIUsNavyShipgirls'', fanfic of ''VideoGame/KantaiCollection''. Being based on the most decorated American ship of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII probably helps.
* ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'': After the reality collapses due to Cyrus' manipulations, [[TheChosenOne Ash is chosen by]] [[PhysicalGod Arceus]] [[PeggySue to go back in time with his memories intact]] [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong and prevent it]]. The story follows him as he tries to adapt to the new world, facing many old and new challenges along his journey.
* Twilight Sparkle is this in the ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'', just like in ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic the original series]]''.
** Rainbow Dash takes up this role in ''Fanfic/AceCombatTheEquestrianWar''.
* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': Shinji has learned -and lived through- the consequences of failure and he has [[spoiler:a family]] to protect now, so he is determined to not squander his and Asuka's second chance and become a hero to save everybody. [[spoiler:He succeeds]].
* ''Fanfic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'': Pick the wimpy, reluctant anti-hero of Evangelion and feed him on bits and leftovers of the extremely dark and gritty ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' universe and what you get? A heroic badass who cares for -nearly- everyone, wants to help everyone, hates seeing people suffering and is determined to defend humanity and destroy their enemies.
* ''Fanfic/SOE2LoneHeirOfKrypton'': In this crossover Asuka is ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}''. After discovering her powers she decides to use them to help people and earn a bit of extra praise. However, she realizes before long her powers entail obligations and responsibilities, helping others actually feels good, and people actually expects a lot of her. She begins trying to live up to everybody's expectations, starting out the path to become a true hero.
* In ''FanFic/TheStoryToEndAllStories'', the Doctor gathers together a group of heroes in order to find a way of defeating the Nothing once and for all.
* Takato from the ''FanFic/TamersForeverSeries''. The [[TheAce strongest tamer]] and protagonist of the series.
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': Main character Shinji falls into the anti-hero side of the scale, but he fights giant monsters to save mankind from extinction.
* Lieutenant Jazz is this in Transformers Meta.
* ''Fanfic/{{Wonderful}}'': Main character Taylor -a. k. a. "Wonder Red"- is a fusion between TheCape and a {{Toku}} hero. Inspired by her father, she becomes a hero to fight the villains and {{Eldritch Abomination}}s ravaging her hometown.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* 9 from... well, ''WesternAnimation/{{Nine}}''. Although 1 is the de facto leader on account of his number, 9 tends to perform most of the non-violent heroics on-screen.
* Manolo Sanchez, of the story Mary Beth tells the detention kids in ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife''. He is a sweet, compassionate young man who truly loves and cares for his family, his best friends and the town of San Angel very dearly.
* Rodrigo in ''WesternAnimation/ElCid'' is a knight on a quest to regain his honor by saving his home from an invading army.
* Hiccup from ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'' is both this and TheLeader towards the end of the first film. The entire point of the storyline is that he is TheWoobie who stops [[ButtMonkey getting laughed at]] for [[BeYourself trying to be something he's not]] and finds he was [[OneOfUs one of them all along]] anyway as he takes on their largest enemy and [[DavidVersusGoliath wins]].
* Every single Pixar movie has one.
** [[KnightInSourArmor Woody]] from ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory''. While he does let his jealousy of Buzz get the better of him at one point, he shows off his role as The Hero by trying to correct his mistakes, and he makes the welfare of the whole group a priority.
** Bob Parr (AKA Mr.Incredible) from ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', who is a superhero not only because of his powers, but because he wants to help people, as shown by the way he assists a little old lady when he's working in insurance.
** Flik from ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'', who starts out looking for heroes before realizing his own power to rid his home colony of the evil grasshoppers.
** Marlin from ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo''. He sets out on an desperate journey to find his son, Nemo... though this allows him to realise and face his own fears and that Nemo is not as helpless as he believes.
** ''WesternAnimation/MonstersInc'': Sully is The Hero, being the primary force behind wanting to do right by Boo, while Mike is TheLancer.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Avatar}}'': Jake Sully, who chooses what's right over what's easy, by siding with the Navi over his own people.
* Perseus in both versions of ''Film/ClashOfTheTitans''. While he is more DarkerAndEdgier in the 2010 reboot, his mission is to [[SaveThePrincess save Princess Andromeda]] from the [[SeaMonster Kraken]] and in ''Wrath of the Titans'', he is the only one that can stop the end of the world being caused by the [[SealedEvilInACan Titan Kronos]].
* John [=McClane=], of ''Franchise/DieHard'', serves as a {{deconstruction}}; his dedication to saving the day and ChronicHeroSyndrome destroy his marriage and strain his relationship with his kids, pushing him into cynicism. He only plays the part of the hero because there's no one else to do it.
* Vlad III Dracula in ''Film/DraculaUntold'', who is a genuinely heroic figure in the most straightforward way - motivated to protect his family and save his kingdom by becoming a vampire.
%%* Max from ''Film/{{Elysium}}''.
%%* Duke from ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra''.
* Angel in ''Film/HotFuzz'' is an extremely competent and efficient ByTheBookCop so good at his job he gets reassigned to a small town because he was making his co-workers inadequate, while the plot is him investigating a series of gruesome murders that nobody else except him cares about.
* Connor [=MacLeod=] for the ''Franchise/{{Highlander}}'' movie series. Really, those with the [=MacLeod=] surname are inevitably going to serve as protagonists (the series is titled ''Highlander'' after all), but Connor was the original one.
* ''Film/JamesBond'': Creator/PierceBrosnan's Bond was specifically catered to [[TheNineties '90s]] tastes and sensibilities in order appeal to the broadest audience possible (especially women, as the actor already had a built-in female fan base from ''Series/RemingtonSteele''), so his 007 was devised as a "sensitive action hero." As a result, Brosnan's Bond became the [[ChivalrousPervert most romantic]][[note]]he genuinely cares about the women in his life--he even falls in love with ''two'' of them--and he does everything he can to keep them safe[[/note]] and the [[OneManArmy most violent]][[note]]his reign relied more heavily on his character running around and shooting baddies with automatic weapons, which was in vogue for action flicks during this time period[[/note]] in comparison to the other actors. Although Brosnan's average onscreen kill count is the highest in the franchise, revealing a more [[BeneathTheMask gentler side]] to his personality made his 007 more [[LoveableRogue sympathetic and accessible]] to casual '90s moviegoers.
* Parodied in ''Film/JumanjiWelcomeToTheJungle'' with Smolder Bravestone, who is clearly supposed to be the game's main protagonist since he has [[TheAce the best stats of all other playable characters with no weaknesses]] and [=NPCs=] refer mostly to him in dialogue. He is such over-the-top example it just hurts.
%%* Balian for most of ''Film/KingdomOfHeaven''.
* Gary "Eggysy" Unwin for the ''Film/{{Kingsman}}'' series as the most recent addition to the titular secret organization in a mission to save the world from evil billionaires.
* Jack O' the Green in ''Film/Legend1985''. Can't get more heroic than rescuing a [[DamselInDistress princess]] from an EvilOverlord who wants to plunge the world into eternal darkness.
* Rick O' Connor serves as the main protagonist in ''Film/TheMummyTrilogy'' being the hapless adventurer that frequently fights against the titular threats.
%%* Elizabeth Swann-Turner and Will Turner are the ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' version of this. Used loosely, as heroes aren't as pure in their world.
* Caesar is the actual hero of the ''Film/RiseOfThePlanetOfTheApes'' trilogy. serving as the apes' guide and liberator. However, his trials and tribulations over the course of the movies put his heroism on the test and push him into the brink of darkness.
%%* Neo from ''Film/RobotHolocaust''.
* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', Luke Skywalker fits this {{trope}} so well that psychology textbooks show a picture of him in reference to the archetype of a hero. In parts of the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse, variations on "I won't leave you here. I have to save you" are his catchphrase.
** The fact that Luke is the Hero archetype was deliberate because Creator/GeorgeLucas is said to have been heavily influenced by Joseph Campbell's [[TheHerosJourney ''The Hero With a Thousand Faces'']]. He does subvert The Hero trope in one ''major'' way though - he DidNotGetTheGirl and TheChick ends up with TheLancer instead for [[BrotherSisterIncest one reason or another]].
** The Prequel Trilogy makes it clear Obi-Wan Kenobi is the hero, not Anakin Skywalker. Obi-Wan is constantly praised as the ideal Jedi and a stalwart defender of the innocent, while Anakin has his own fair share of issues that keep from achieving his heroic destiny. [[ForegoneConclusion We all know well how it turns out]].
** ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' introduces Rey as the Sequel Trilogy's hero, who turns out to be a Force-sensitive Jedi-to-be in the same vein as Luke Skywalker from the original trilogy. The ending makes it clear that the next two films will be her story.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'': Among the three main protagonists (Wolverine, Professor X and Magneto), [[Characters/XMenFilmSeriesProfessorCharlesXavier Professor X]] is the most noble of the bunch. Logan is sometimes an AntiHero, and Erik is mostly a villain. The First Class trilogy explores three fundamental aspects of Charles Xavier: peace, hope, and love. In ''Film/XMenFirstClass'', he represents serenity (which is a synonym for peace), and he averts WorldWarIII. In ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'', his younger self is a lost soul who gradually finds hope again, and this prevents a future where mutant-kind is exterminated by Sentinels. In ''Film/XMenApocalypse'', he wields an ability which is just as powerful (if not more so) than his telepathy--ThePowerOfLove; he vanquishes a DestroyerDeity with it.
* ''Film/GleahanAndTheKnavesOfIndustry:'' ZigZagged with Gleahan. He definitely brings everyone together, and he's the only one on the team with a sword, but [[spoiler:his friends have to rescue ''him'' from capture.]]

* [[{{Leader}} Jake]] of the ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' series is a deconstruction of this role. He was unanimously chosen as leader based on these characteristics but the constant pressure and moral ambiguity of his role start to affect him as the story moves on.
* John Carter in the ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars Barsoom]]'' series. He is characterized as a perfect warrior, an honorable gentleman and is the main protagonist for the first three books, which afterwards he is elevated to BigGood status. His son [[WarriorPrince Carthoris]] takes up the role in ''Thuvia, Maid of Mars''. Other examples include Ulysses Paxton in ''Master Mind of Mars'' and Tan Hadron for ''A Fighting Man of Mars''.
* Garion in ''Literature/TheBelgariad'' and ''Literature/TheMalloreon'', prophesied to be a Child of Light that will defeat the evil god Torak and rule as a sorcerer king.
* Roland Deschain in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' is a Gunslinger, the western version of a KnightErrant and may as well serve this role to the greater Stephen King metaverse as a whole.
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' usually subverts or averts this trope, often favoring the AntiHero instead. Carrot Ironfoundersson of the City Watch plays it straight, being physically and morally strong, but he's not the central protagonist.
* Paul Atreides from ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' is a tragic deconstruction. He is the heir of a noble house whose father is murdered by TheEmpire and its corrupt accomplices that oppressed the people of the planet Arrakis. Paul is revealed to be the ChosenOne and leads a revolution against this regime, effectively dethroning it in the process and ascends as a divine Emperor himself. Then the previously [[FullCircleRevolution oppressed people he helped to liberate go on a jihad]] and slaughtering sixty billion people in his name, and Paul is completely helpless to stop it.
* Sam Temple from the ''Literature/{{Gone}}'' series. Mercilessly deconstructed with him by the end of ''Hunger'', when he gets so fed up with the stress and dealing with everyone else's problems that he quits.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'', of course. He succeeds not through force or power, but with goodness and connecting with others.
* Bilbo Baggins in ''Literature/TheHobbit''. While not TheLeader, he follows the classic journey of self-discovery that is associated with the trope.
%%* Zoey from ''Literature/TheHouseOfNight''.
%%** Stevie Rae once she gets her own FiveManBand.
* Katniss Everdeen from ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' initially fights to protect her family from being sacrificed in the titular games and ends up becoming an icon of the rebellion against the corrupt government of Panem.
* Hector (for the Trojans) in ''Literature/TheIliad'' is regarded by many as the actual protagonist of the story, among the Greeks and Trojans. Considering that next to Achilles and Paris, he's just the best guy trying to defend his homeland from the Greek invaders. Not that he doesn't have his bad moments, but almost everyone else is a total jerk. And also the fact that the story ends with [[TheHeroDies his funeral]] making it a solid case of a DownerEnding.
%%* ''Literature/InDeath'' series: Eve Dallas, but she is careful not to consider herself this.
%%* Tessa Gray from ''Literature/TheInfernalDevices''.
%%* Maximillian White in Bryan Miranda's ''Literature/TheJourneyToAtlantis''.
%%* Finn from ''Literature/KingdomKeepers''.
%%* Daniel Ruffino from ''Literature/TheLeonardRegime''.
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''
** Aragorn is an interesting case. He very clearly fills the role of The Hero and TheLeader, though he isn't the chief protagonist, thus making him the SupportingLeader.
** Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee both qualify for the role of The Hero in regards to the protagonist swept into adventure, and [[WordOfGod Tolkien]] seems to favor Sam for the part, as his journey is closest to that of Bilbo's in ''Literature/TheHobbit''.
%%* Thomas from ''[[Literature/TheMazeRunner The Maze Runner Trilogy]]''.
%%* Mediochre Q Seth from the ''Literature/MediochreQSethSeries''. At least, he starts that way, but later he slips into AntiHero territory.
* In ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'', [[spoiler: we're lead to believe that]] Percy is the hero of the series. [[spoiler: The hero is not who we thought he was. Luke Castellan takes up that role instead]]. However [[spoiler: Percy is still The Hero of the series; he's just not the hero of ''the prophecy'']].
%%* ''[[Literature/ShadowsontheMoon Shadows on the Moon]]'' has Suzume, who also goes by the names Rin and Yue.
%%* ''Literature/SisterhoodSeries'' by Creator/FernMichaels: Nicole "Nikki" Quinn is this for the Vigilantes. Jack Emery is this for the Big Five later on.
* ''Literature/SongAtDawn'': Dragonetz is a good hearted and idealistic man at the center of the plot and the greatest threat to a set of villains, but he's not TheProtagonist. That role goes to Estela.
* In the ''Literature/TortallUniverse'':
** Alanna of Trebond, who is deliberately a female The Hero in ''Literature/SongOfTheLioness''. Among other things, she uncovers a plot to usurp the throne, helps Jon improve relations between Tortallans and the Bazhir, and brings a number of badasses back to the capital for the FinalBattle.
** Daine Sarrasri in ''Literature/TheImmortals'', who brings together humans, animals, and immortals as a NatureHero.
** Keladry of Mindelan in ''Literature/ProtectorOfTheSmall'' becomes TheLeader over the course of her quartet and gains noble and commoner friends as she challenges harmful traditions.
** Aly in ''Literature/DaughterOfTheLioness'' does this by being TheSpymaster, finding unusual allies and [[TakeAThirdOption third options]] for LaResistance.
** Beka Cooper in ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' reminds her veteran cop partners of the idealistic reasons they joined the force and recruits fellow trainees (and friendly criminals) to help her solve a case that nobody's supposed to really care about.
* ''Literature/TrappedOnDraconica''
** Daniar leads the group, she fights the battles, she has the HeroicSpirit. It's lampshaded by [[SupportingProtagonist Ben]] in the bonus art how she gets the 'meaty story lines' despite not being TheProtagonist.
** In the sequel, ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'' her Benji ''wants'' to be this. The prologue is a dream of his where he saves a village from an evil overlord. In practice, he's a SupportingProtagonist because he's a ten-year-old TagalongKid.
%%* Edward Cullen from ''Literature/{{Twilight}}''.
%%* Muggle-Wump from ''Literature/TheTwits''.
* Tiago from ''Literature/VampirosDoRioDouro'' is an college student that takes up arms against the Seven vampires when they are unleashed from the slumber, in addition to being the main protagonist.
%%* Fireheart in ''Literature/WarriorCats''.
%%* Hazel in ''Literature/WatershipDown''.
* ''Literature/XWingSeries''
** There are always two to three primary protagonists and viewpoint characters. One or two, depending on whether this book is part of Creator/MichaelStackpole's run or an Creator/AaronAllston novel - and ''which'' Creator/AaronAllston book - is the subordinate who experiences more CharacterDevelopment, goes through personal revelations and a personal plotline, gets beat up, and is generally a good person but not quite "pure", often having some dark guilt, flaw, or secret. The other primary protagonist is always [[AscendedExtra Wedge Antilles]], who leads, bounces back from setbacks, has a plotline that isn't really all that personal, and is rarely wrong.
** '''Starfighters of Adumar'', which is intensely Wedge-centered and has no other viewpoint characters, is the exception, and although Wedge is severely heroic and an AcePilot there too, he's not The Hero to the same extent.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheATeam'': Col. John "Hannibal" Smith, though he's also kind of a LovableRogue as well as a [[TricksterArchetype Trickster]]. Notable for being most likely the only person in this trope to be over 50 years old.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': Angel's journey of redemption at times involves him actively taking on aspects of this trope.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Buffy Summers is the ChosenOne, who brings together others to support her. It is her job to kill bad guys ForGreatJustice.
** In Season 9, Faith has become this to some, including Willow, and stands as perhaps the best example since Buffy's name is mud after she did what she had to do and Angel more an obsessed AntiHero. Officially she is The Slayer, despite Buffy being BackFromTheDead. InUniverse and out, she is treated as one of the nicer characters near the end, when Buffy TookALevelInJerkass. And she's treated as The Hero over Buffy even before she saves the world.
%%* ''Series/DawsonsCreek'': Dawson Leery.
%% * ''Series/DoctorWho'': The Doctor. While he fits this in most stories, he sometimes veers towards being an Anti Hero. The First Doctor was definitely not straight hero material.
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': John Crichton is the main character and generally speaking, the most heroic and idealistic of the Moya crew (although the idealism gradually fades away as time goes on).
%%* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Malcom "Mal" Reynolds, though he's more of a LovableRogue.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** The Starks are the most classical in terms of heroes, honor-bound warriors devoted to each other. Notable examples include:
*** [[HeroicBastard Jon Snow]]. Though the series has so many viewpoint characters claiming enough prominence (such as Tyrion, Arya, and Daenerys) than having just a single protagonist, Jon fits the classic fantasy heroic archetype closer than everyone else and is [[https://youtu.be/yarEbKyk8PU?t=147 even acknowledged by the author himself]]. After serving under Jeor Mormont, Qhorin Halfhand, and the wildlings, he has some serious CharacterDevelopment and emerges as a skilled warrior, a natural leader, and a dutiful man committed to his vows with a strong moral code and sense of justice that earns the admiration of his fellow brothers, who leads the raid on Craster's Keep and the Battle of Castle Black. By Season 6, he unquestionably is this role for the North storyline (having restored the Starks back to power) if not for the whole of Westeros, as he is the only leader aware of the White Walkers' danger, and wants to gather as many forces as possible to withstand their arrival.
*** Ned Stark is genuinely heroic and indisputably the hero for Season 1. Even three seasons after his death, he casts a long shadow with nary an episode gone by that his memory isn't invoked or referred to.
*** Robb Stark is one of the closest fitting characters to the fantasy hero archetype: a noble, kind, and a natural leader who fights for independence and justice.
** Stannis Baratheon serves as a deconstruction. He is just, dutiful, and the rightful heir to the Baratheon dynasty, but his staunch commitment to duty and utter lack of charisma make him cold at best and villainous at worst. Despite apparently being TheChosenOne, he commands the smallest faction, which drives him to assassinate his younger brother and submit to Melisandre's ToxicFriendInfluence.
** Lord Beric Dondarrion, leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners is a subversion. One of the most altruistic characters in the show, he fights for the smallfolk by killing and stealing from the armies occupying in the Riverlands, but he is also willing to do anything in service his cause and his new god, including holding Arya Stark for ransom and betraying Gendry to Melisandre.
** One more tricky example is Margaery Tyrell. While she is very ambitious and willing to use others to get her means, she is also a genuinely good person that cares about the smallfolk and her family. She becomes the main {{protagonist}} in King's Landing in seasons 5 and 6, with Cersei and later the High Sparrow as her antagonists.
%%* ''Series/{{Ghostwriter}}'': Jamal.
%%* ''Series/HouseOfAnubis'': Nina Martin.
%%** When she leaves, it's Eddie.
%%* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': Harmon Rabb.
%%* The ''Series/KamenRider'' series are almost always named after The Hero of said series. In the Heisei series, most of these characters tend to be primarily red or blue in their base forms.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'': Nate Ford is the {{Antihero}}ic Hero of Leverage Consulting and Associates, as shown by his role as TheLeader and his commitment to helping those in need.
%%* ''Series/MaddigansQuest'': Garland.
%%* ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'': Merlin/Emrys.
* ''Series/NoahsArc'': Though not an action-based series, Noah fits in that he has virtually all the non-combat qualities listed above. He's the protagonist, is morally superior (frequently choosing HonorBeforeReason), and compared to the rest of the group has a more balanced personality. He's the one who holds the group together, frequently reminding everyone how much they care about each other, and is almost always right in situations where he provides guidance/leadership. Even the wearing red/blue somewhat fits, as there are several scenes where he wears red specifically to make him stand out from the rest of the cast. He's also invariably front and center in any promotional photos and more often than not in scenes where the whole main cast is together.
%%* ''Series/OneTreeHill'': Lucas Scott. After Lucas leaves in Season 6, Nathan becomes this trope.
%%* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': Charlotte "Charlie" Matheson. However, she is too young and inexperienced to be The Leader.
* ''Series/{{Roswell}}'': Max Evans fits this to a T. His teammates frequently {{Lampshades}} it regularly asking him "What do we do now, Max?" even if sometimes they openly criticize him for his "passively watching" instead of taking action sooner, something that doesn't change when he's actually declared the king of his planet.
%%* ''Series/{{Scandal}}'': Olivia.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'': Clark Kent, as he goes through the experiences that will shape him into Superman, one of the most classic examples of The Hero.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'': Captain Kirk is strong-willed, brave, and quite often shows the best side of humanity (e.g. showing mercy to defeated opponents). He's part of the FreudianTrio of the show, along with Spock and [=McCoy=].
* ''Franchise/StargateVerse'': Colonel Sheppard in ''Series/StargateAtlantis''. His ability to connect with and inspire people is unmatched on the series.
%%** Colonel O'Neill in ''Series/StargateSG1'' initially, then Colonel Mitchell in seasons 9 and 10.
%%** Colonel Young in ''Series/StargateUniverse''.
%%* ''SuperSentai'' and ''PowerRangers'' series (most of them): [[TheLeader The Red Ranger]]. A few Red Rangers have been [[TheLancer Lancers]], but they still receive the most focus in the series.
%%** A partial exception is Tommy, who is originally the SixthRanger in the first season, but in the middle of the second season, becomes the leader as the White Ranger. He then stays on as leader in Power Rangers Zeo, but becomes the red ranger then.
%%* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Originally, Sam Winchester, most notably from season's one to six.
%%** According to Eric Kripke, Sam was modeled after Franchise/{{Star Wars}} hero and protagonist, Luke Skywalker.
* ''Series/TeenWolf'': Scott [=McCall=]. He is not especially bright (fortunately he has a HypercompetentSidekick, Stiles), but he is unfailing in his willingness to protect and help others. Even [[JerkJock Jackson]].
* ''Franchise/UltraSeries'': Whoever is the Ultra's human host/form -- always a brave and compassionate young man who sees the best in people and desires to make the world a better place. The Ultras themselves certainly share many of the same sentiments.
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'':
** Stefan Salvatore. Often referred to as a TragicHero, FallenHero, IdealHero and even a ByronicHero. At times, Stefan drops from the role of hero and becomes an AntiHero.
** Elena is his female counterpart. She is the protector of everyone within the story, opposite Stefan. She is the main female character of the series.

* ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7f_HsjpSVaI Holding Out For A Hero]]'' by Bonnie Tyler is all about this, a song dedicated to good guys.
* Mentioned in Blues Traveler's "Runaround," as its lyric imply that characters can do right by anyone else.
--> ''Like a bad play where the hero's right''
--> ''And nobody thinks or expects too much''

* The word "Hero" comes from Myth/ClassicalMythology. It was [[TropeNamer derived]], from [[WorldsStrongestMan Heracles]], however, serious ValuesDissonance kicks in because while many did slay horrible monsters that threatened the people, the heroes from Myth/ClassicalMythology could be just as bad as their [[JerkassGods Gods]], since they were free to do what they want.
* Myth/KingArthur is the TropeCodifier of this trope for Medieval England, as well as the BigGood. The Knights of the Round Table also qualified for any tale that focused on them as they lived up as paragons of chivalry by defending the weak and standing for justice. They might as well as be considered the superheroes of their time period.
* Robin Hood fits this role among the Merry Men in nearly every adaptation, since he is the plucky rebel leader who steals from the rich to give the poor.
* The [[KnightErrant Bogatyrs]] from Myth/RussianMythologyAndTales were the Slavic equivalents to the Knights of the Round Table: legendary warriors that protected the land from monsters, beasts and invading steppe hordes.

* “Ace” from ''Pinball/LightsCameraAction'' is the star of the film.

* Romeo Montague from ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', who did it all because he fell in love with a girl and wanted to do everything and anything he could to be with her, including having a SecretRelationship.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* As long as he's sane, Keiichi Maebara from ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' takes up takes role as (according to Rika and Hanyu) he is the “piece” that brings change to Hinamizawa. Because Hinamizawa is a village so traditionalist and unchanging that its people have begun to stagnate, it is very important that he comes and stirs up their preconceptions - in particular, changing the ostracising attitude that many have towards the Houjou family.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Elliot of ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', he's brave, naturally drawn to defending people that need it, and acts a balance for his more eccentric friends.
%%* Lance from ''WebComic/GoldCoinComics'', ultimately.
%%* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' has four: [[ThePollyanna John Egbert]] for the pre-Scratch human session, [[KnightInSourArmor Karkat Vantas]] for the post-Scratch Troll session, [[{{Meganekko}} Jane Crocker]] for the [[AlternateUniverse post-Scratch human session]], and [[PostHumousCharacter Meenah Peixes]] for the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent pre-Scratch Troll session]].
%%* Ker-Kyl and Felix from ''[[{{Webcomic/KerKylsWatch}} Ker-Kyl's Watch]]'', but Francis Antigo could be considered one too.
* In ''Webcomic/KiddCommander'', despite acting sometimes silly or being impulsive, Phineas is more than she appears, knows much more than she shows, and is stubbornly and patiently gathering friends to reach her goal.
* Cale'Anon Vatay of ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'' is a textbook example. He starts the comic as a "lone and righteous wolf", but quickly accrues a group of fellow adventurers, including the warlock Richard as his {{Lancer}}, whom he develops a close - if somewhat dysfunctional -- relationship with. He is not the most intelligent of the bunch, [[HorribleJudgeofCharacter clearly failing to recognize evil]] early on, but often displays quick thinking and good strategizing ability, especially after [[TookALevelInBadass taking numerous levels in badass]]. (He is definitely the newest to adventuring of the main characters, having started out the comic with a healthy dose of WideEyedIdealist.) Considering the actions of some of his group members, he can also be seen as an OnlySaneMan. He fights with two swords and eventually [[spoiler: shacks up with the resident ActionGirl]].
* Any, from ''Webcomic/M9Girls'' is both TheProtagonist and the heroine of the story, having shown her concern for the Girls' safety over her own. She has self-appointed to be TheLeader, though the Girls don't really acknowledge it.
* Despite ([[JackOfAllStats or expectedly due to]]) being a GeniusBruiser, Roy from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is The Hero instead of TheBigGuy or TheSmartGuy, since he leads the titular adventuring party and driven to stop the evil lich Xykon - initially to fulfill a blood oath that his father made to defeat him, but then deciding Xykon needs to be stopped.
%%* Julie from ''Webcomic/OurLittleAdventure'', but mostly because the rest don't really want that job.
%%* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', Storytime Zombie [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4244 defines the good guy as the hero who gets to win in the end]].
%%* Torg from ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', though when he's in one of his "[[http://sluggy.com/daily.php?date=090217 wacky moods]]" you'd never realize it.
%%* Named after his Birthdate, Twentyfifth Baam from ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod''.
* "Webcomic/WastelandersAnonymous": Although this is an ensemble piece, Benjamin acts as the catalyst that brings the characters together. Anne also has some of The Hero in her but not as much as Benjamin. Paradoxically, Benjamin hasn't got a clue that he's the catalyst. Both he and Anne think Anne is the real catalyst.

[[folder:Web Original]]
%%* Sasha Hunter is an undoubtedly one in ''Literature/GreekNinja''.
%%* Averted when Church of ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' magnanimously declares it doesn't matter if he's the hero. Tucker is swift to inform him that he is nowhere near "hero", and suggests "participant" or "bystander" instead. Agent Washington would be a more appropriate example.
* Neil Sinclair of ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest'' is arguably ''the'' hero of the series. He might not always make the right calls, but he's about the only character who retains his moral high ground throughout the game, and strives ceaselessly to save as many people as possible. He has the distinction of being the only character ever to form an effectual pro-escape group. [[spoiler:Which has a good chance to have ''succeeded'', cliffhanger and PyrrhicVictory notwithstanding; if nothing else, it's the closest the students have ever come to beating the system]].
* ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}'': Dylan is TheHero of the FiveManBand. He's the lead, a {{Determinator}}, and [[IJustWantToBeNormal (reluctantly)]] saves the world from evil threats.