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Byronic Hero
aka: Byronic Heroine

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His soul is as turbulent as the sea.
"There's a good man within you, Arthur, but he is wrestling with a giant. And the giant wins, time and again."

The Byronic Hero is a type of character popularized by the works of Lord Byron, whose protagonists often embodied this archetype (though they did exist before him). This trope gained prominence during Romanticism. Sometimes an Anti-Hero, others an Anti-Villain, or even Just a Villain, Byronic heroes are charismatic characters with strong passions and ideals, but who are nonetheless deeply flawed individuals who may act in ways which are socially reprehensible because he's definitely contrary to his mainstream society. A Byronic hero is on his own side and has his own set of beliefs which he will not bow nor change for anyone. A Byronic hero is a character whose internal conflicts are heavily romanticized and who himself ponders and wrestles with his struggles and beliefs. Some are portrayed with a suggestion of dark crimes or tragedies in their past.


The following traits are very characteristic of Byronic heroes and may be helpful in identifying them:

  • Is usually male (though female examples are not unheard of) and is always considered very attractive physically and in terms of personality, possessing a great deal of magnetism and charisma, using these abilities to achieve social and romantic dominance. One mark against him personality wise, however, is a struggle with his own personal integrity.
  • Is very intelligent, perceptive, sophisticated, educated, cunning and adaptable, but also self-centered.
  • Is emotionally sensitive, which may translate into being emotionally conflicted, bipolar, or moody.
  • Is intensely self-critical and introspective and may be described as dark and brooding. He dwells on the pains or perceived injustices of his life, often to the point of over-indulgence. May muse philosophically on the circumstances that brought him to this point, including personal failings.
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  • Is cynical, world-weary, and jaded, often due to a mysterious Dark and Troubled Past, which, if uncovered, may reveal a significant loss, or a crime or mistake committed which still haunts him, or, conversely, that he may be suffering from some unnamed crime against him.
  • He is extremely passionate, with strong personal beliefs which are usually in conflict with the values of the status quo. He sees his own values and passions as above or better than those of others, manifesting as arrogance or a martyr-like attitude. Sometimes, however, he just sees himself as one who must take the long, hard road to do what must be done.
  • His intense drive and determination to live out his philosophy without regard to others' philosophies produce conflict, and may result in a tragic end, should he fail, or revolution, should he succeed. Because of this, he is very rebellious, having a distaste for social institutions and norms and is disrespectful of rank and privilege, though he often has said rank and privilege himself. This rebellion often leads to social isolation, rejection, or exile, or to being treated as an outlaw, but he will not compromise, being unavoidably self-destructive.

Vampires are often written as this kind of character, as a way to romanticize an otherwise disturbing creature. This is altogether fitting, as Lord Byron himself was the inspiration for one of the first pieces of vampire literature, The Vampyre, by John William Polidori, Byron's personal physician. Oftentimes, to highlight their signature brooding aura, a Byronic hero will be compared with creatures that have dark, supernatural connotations, with demons, ghosts, and of course, vampires, all being popular choices. Love Tropes are often involved with this character, but almost always in a very cynical, existential way. Don't hold your breath waiting for The Power of Love to redeem him; these characters are more likely to fall victim to Love Makes You Crazy, Love Makes You Evil, or at the very least Love Hurts.

He has a tendency to be The Unfettered, rejecting the morals imposed by society to accomplish his goals, and may overlap with the Übermensch, who shares the Byronic hero's sense of rebellion and superiority. Similarly, he could also be a Pragmatic Villain, as the two follow their desires without care for others, but nonetheless, have no interest in outright evil. He may actually acknowledge that his actions are evil, but state that there's no way to accomplish his goals otherwise. More overlapping tropes include Utopia Justifies the Means, which, like a Byronic hero's style, may be immoral or villainous acts in the name of some higher cause which would otherwise be a positive goal. The Lovable Rogue shares the Byronic hero's charisma, likability, and tendency to break the law.

They are quite often a Draco in Leather Pants, often in-universe as well, due to the magnetic All Girls Want Bad Boys appeal of this character. Frequently, a large part of their characterization involves being a Manipulative Bastard, a Deadpan Snarker, Crazy Sane, and/or Tall, Dark, and Snarky, perhaps with an Awesome Ego. A great number will also be Rebellious Spirits. In a Four-Temperament Ensemble, they will almost invariably be the Melancholic.

Not to be confused with a Classical Anti-Hero, a Tragic Hero or a Tragic Villain. Classical anti-heroes have many flaws but without any violent or sociopathic traits that Byronic heroes have. Tragic Heroes suffer from a specific sin in particular, which is treated as their Fatal Flaw, and are often well-intentioned or otherwise blameless. While both characters may ultimately be defeated by their flaws, the Tragic Heroes and Tragic Villains tend to suffer more for them in the end and include An Aesop. However, it's not unheard of to see characters who are both Byronic and Tragic heroes or are both Classical antiheroes and Byronic heroes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Yuri from Angel Beats!. Having failed to prevent her siblings' deaths, she spends her days in the afterlife rallying others to kill God in order to get revenge for the horrible lives they've suffered. She refuses to accept the terms of her own death (an implied suicide following her crossing the Despair Event Horizon), and it's not until the end when she realizes where her hatred has taken her.
  • A somewhat milder example in Ashita no Joe. Joe Yabuki, who goes through many hardships that concludes in his own death... and brings almost all of them on himself.
  • Berserk:
    • Guts is a notable example of this trope and fits most of the classical traits. He spent the years after the Eclipse wandering from town to town and killing Apostles, largely indifferent to the people he saved and hanging onto his humanity by a thread. He eventually starts to return to his original personality after he sees where his obsession with revenge has left him.
    • Griffith also counted, prior to being broken during a Trauma Conga Line that eventually led to the Eclipse.
  • Black★Rock Shooter: The anime incarnation of the titular character counts as one. Unlike her OVA, manga, or video game counterparts, who all fall on the side of good, she just wants to make her real-world counterpart Mato happy, and thus kills other people's Other Selves out of a desire to keep her happy. After triggering an event that makes Mato cry, she goes insane and goes on a rampage.
  • From the Leijiverse, Captain Harlock is a brooding badass whose devotion to Earth leads him to abandon its corrupt government and defend it alone.
  • Code Geass:
    • Manipulative Bastard Lelouch Lamperouge is an arrogant narcissist, is generally fine with slaughtering his enemies, is fairly vengeful, and frequently lies to and keeps secrets from his own men, as well as his friends and family. Although the universe has screwed him over a couple of times. While Lelouch does aim to make the world a better place, many of his methods are so devious and underhanded and his motives behind his actions are so self-serving that it's impossible to call him any other kind of hero... Although to his credit, he never thinks he is a good person, and actually reveals the full extent of his crimes to the world, and publicly has himself executed for them. He didn't have to do any of that as soon as he became Emperor, but he did anyway because he knew he deserved no less. The director said that he specifically chose Jun Fukuyama to voice Lelouch on the grounds that his voice, along with the character's traits, would make him such that the viewer would side with him no matter what he'd say.
    • Suzaku could also count. Brooding, uncompromising, self-destructive Death Seeker who seeks atonement for killing his father and causing Japan to be enslaved by Britannia. He tries sacrificing himself under the guise of chivalry to both Britannia and supposedly Japan as an excuse to fulfill his death wish but mostly serves to derail Lelouch's plans before they would otherwise bear maximum results. In season 2, he becomes even worse, descending into Knight Templar territory and conquering EU nations for Schneizel. He eventually joins Lelouch, but not before they're both broken beyond repair.
    • A third example is C.C. As a young girl, she was unable to experience true love thanks to the Geass bestowed upon her, and she was later cursed with a Code that sent her through centuries of torture. All this tragedy left her a Broken Bird and Empty Shell by the present day. After giving Lelouch his Geass, she makes it clear that she sticks with him for her own reasons (namely, getting rid of her Code so that she can finally die), but she regains her humanity through her interactions with him.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
    • Faye Valentine is a con artist, selfish, impulsive, self-centered, rude and manipulative. She's also lonely, heartbroken, wounded, and desperately searching for her place in the universe.
    • Despite being our hero, Spike Spiegel's actions for most of the show cause a lot of collateral damage and bystander injury. Not to mention he's not the nicest or most caring guy. However, in the inside, he's a broken man who longs for the woman he fell in love with and wants to leave his chaotic life and troubled past behind.
  • Cross Ange: Alektra Maria "Jill" von Loewenherz, a fallen princess, calculating, cold, and manipulative. She's a hardened woman who is hellbent on killing Embryo to the point she wants to use anyone to that end. Also, fellow Norma Ange herself qualifies; much like Jill before her, a fallen princess who is exiled into Arzenal, whose life changed her forever to cynical levels. Unlike Jill, Ange survives so many adversities, such as nearly falling into Embryo's control, and becomes the leader when the series heads towards the Grand Finale.
  • Death Note:
    • Light Yagami is a villainous one. Physically attractive, cunning and intelligent, arrogant with a major God complex, prone to quiet brooding when things don't go his way, very passionate about his ideals, and absolutely convinced that what he is doing is right.
      • He could also be a deconstruction of one: While people in and out of the series think he's misunderstood, he is genuinely evil and dangerous. Of course the "misunderstood" conception changes at the end, at least in-universe.
    • Mello. He's handsome, passionate, ruthless and VERY rebellious. He's obsessed with becoming L's successor and being the best with no regards to what anyone else thinks. He tries to achieve his goal through illegal means and has questionable morals.
      • In the end, he realizes that his goals are not going to achieve the bigger picture that L, his mentor and idol, wants. He takes it upon himself to handle what he believes needs to be done with the mindset of "someone has to do it". He seems not only leave behind his inferiority with not being #1 but even helps his rival Near, leaving him with all the glory.
  • Rika Nonaka from Digimon Tamers, who before her Character Development, was cold, brooding, and ruthless on the outside. She was a fierce battler, both in the Digimon card game and with her partner, with having the drive for being the strongest. She also has a strained relationship with her mother, a professional model who tries to get her daughter into a similar way and Rika is quite bothered by it. She also tries to keep her distance from Takato and Henry at first. While she does remain snarky and cool-headed, she does become more amicable and openly-caring for those close to her and she reaches an understanding with her mother, her even informing Rika that she is responsible and will choose her path (for those needing context, Rika's mom was implied to have been a teenager when she had her and thus, is referring to her own lack of regret on being a model and single mom.)
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Piccolo, considering he was born to kill Goku and conquer the Earth in Dragon Ball, before being forced to team up with the heroes in Dragon Ball Z. He has a very serious, melancholic outlook on life. After fusing with Kami he also becomes very noble with very strong morals, even further fitting this trope.
    • Vegeta fits this role like a glove during the Namek Arc of Z. Having essentially been a slave working under Frieza from the age of 12, he was hell-bent on surpassing Frieza in strength and eventually overthrowing him so that he and the Saiyans could, in his opinion, rightfully claim their position as the dominant force in the universe. Following Frieza bringing the Saiyan race to the verge of extinction, despite the Saiyans loyalty to Frieza, Vegeta became even more determined. His first step in achieving his goal was to gain immortality, and he was willing to do anything to gain immortality, ranging from slaughtering innocent men and children, fighting dirty and swallowing his pride and teaming up with the heroes. After failing to achieve immortality, his goal then turned to surpassing Goku, no matter how bad of a situation he would have created, if it meant he got one-up on Goku, it was worth it. Ironically, his drive to surpass Goku led to him pulling a Face–Heel Turn in the Buu Arc and killing 200 people just to coax Goku into fighting him again so that he could prove that he was stronger than him.
  • Lucy from Elfen Lied is a perfect example. Morally neutral? To put it mildly. Largely concerned with personal interests? Check. Disrespect of common authority? Check. Tragic past? Dear God... Defined by conflict, inner and outer? Definitely. Attractive? Oh yes. Introspective loner? Check. Cynical, jaded, brooding and self-destructive? Definitely.
  • Fate/Zero seems to love exploring these kinds of traits.
    • The protagonist, Emiya Kiritsugu, failed to Shoot the Dog as a child and caused a village to be massacred. He vowed never to let this happen again and dedicated his life to ruthlessly killing the few to save the many. In the process, he had to sacrifice anything resembling normal human emotion. Realizing that this was just stopping minor tragedies instead of solving the fundamental problems of human nature, he agreed to work for the Einzberns so that he could use the Grail to end all warfare forever. During the war, he consistently succeeds while slowly sacrificing everything that made him even slightly happy, ending up the story a broken man who had nothing left.
    • The primary antagonist, Kotomine Kirei, was a pious man who always worked for the betterment of mankind because it was the right thing to do. However, he took no joy in it and instead began to suffer when he realized what a hollow existence he was. With some prodding from Gilgamesh, he instead embraced his true passion for causing suffering. Again, Kotomine lives through the war, but he's not really any happier than before and a shell of a man.
    • A third possible Byronic hero is Matou Kariya, a man who fled from his corrupt family to escape their evil. In order to protect the daughter of the woman he loved but could not marry, he agreed to reenter the family and participate in the Grail War. While he begins with noble intentions, his grudge against the father of the girl eventually twists him and with some help from Kotomine he destroys everything he cared about. At the end he dies without saving the girl, alone, miserable and deluded.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Edward Elric has the less destructive traits of this. As cheery as he may seem, he is rigidly stubborn and spends a good amount of time brooding over the terrible things that have happened to him. His Byronic aspects are more emphasized in the 2003 anime, however.
    • Greed also has elements of this, mostly in his second incarnation. A greedy but rebellious being, he listens to no one but himself. To this end, Greed only acts on his whims without much regard to others. He's passionate about his desires, intelligent, hedonistic, is very intense about his emotions and struggles with morality, and he can be quite cynical. He also shows some charisma as he is able to attract followers. The Second Greed's conversations with Ling also resemble internal conflict.
    • Subverted with Roy Mustang. Mustang is certainly saddled with a lot of angst and guilt from Ishval, and although he is set up to be an Anti-Hero when he stages Maria Ross' murder, he remains one of the most idealistic characters in the entire series. To the point where he is able to refuse to perform Human Transmutation when an opportunity presented itself twice.
    • Scar. Morally neutral? He develops from an Anti-Villain to an Anti-Hero. Largely concerned with personal interests? He's driven only by his feelings and his quest for vengeance, at least for a time. Dark and Troubled Past? He lost his arm, his brother, most of his people, and his country in a brutal genocide. Defined by conflict, inner and outer? He has his moments. Introspective loner? Definitely so. Guilty of horrible crimes? He is responsible for dozens of murders, including Rockbells, who were in no way responsible for the Ishvalan massacre. An exile? He's a wandering Vigilante Man. Cynical and self-destructive? He doesn't even care about his own life.
  • Maho Nishizumi of Girls und Panzer is an Aloof Big Sister to Miho who is willing to do whatever it takes to live up to the expectations associated with being the heir to the Nishizumi family so that Miho can live and practice tankery the way she wants, and to that end shot an enemy flag tank when it tried to rescue some of her teammates, which she seems to feel some measure of guilt over. She even has a pose similar to the page image in Episode 10, when she looks on her school's tanks.
  • Gundam:
    • Grodek Ainoa from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE - Driven by tragic events from his past, a bit brooding, charismatic and with no problem or remorse wrecking all possible rules to achieve his goal.
  • Haman Khan from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is a female example who checks most of the other boxes. She is a supremely intelligent and charismatic Glorious Leader, highly physically attractive and dominant towards others, yet inside she is a highly conflicted individual; Lonely at the Top, as well as cynical and disillusioned with humanity to the point of being a Misanthrope Supreme. Her philosophy is essentially nihilistic; she wants to conquer all humanity because of a belief that Humans Are the Real Monsters, and so they deserve nothing better than to be crushed under her iron boot. However, she only embodies the "introspective" part of the trope when she meets Judau Ashta, whose idealism causes her to re-examine her own worldview. Her internal conflicts lead to her downfall; her inability to firmly deal with an apparently harmless traitor, despite knowing of his treachery, leads to the decimation of her forces. Shortly thereafter, her complicated infatuation with Judau leads her to fight a duel with him, at a severe enough handicap that she can be fought to a draw, and she commits suicide afterward.
  • Sesshomaru of InuYasha. Unlike Inuyasha, he is a full-fledged demon, as well as a powerful one. He's apathetic, deadly, and has a short temper for specific things. He grew up as an aristocrat, and his family situation and surroundings molded him into the ruthless killer he is.
    • He is not inherently evil, but rather accustomed to having things his way. He uses others to achieve his goals, but never falters from his own beliefs and goals. He does not have the materialistic greed many other demons in the show possess and wants to achieve his goals through his own means.
  • Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fits all criteria save broodiness (supplementary materials make it clear he actively tries to avoid it), but presents a fairly interesting case in terms of representation. While due to limited screentime the audience doesn't get to see the full scale of his personality until well after his death, in publication terms almost a full decade, his characterization as this is alluded to throughout his tenure in his treatment as a Dark Messiah and the focus on showing him reading on the few occasions he shows up and isn't actively fighting. It shines through most strongly in the semi-canon novel Over Heaven, which is intended as a copy of his in-series diary and contains all the personal thoughts and philosophical musings the audience wasn't privy to while he was alive.
    • His disciple, Enrico Pucci, has a tragic backstory behind his evil motivations. Born with a twin brother switched at birth for a stillborn, Pucci hated himself and thought himself to be guilty for what happened, and became a priest to understand why people felt despair and suffering. When his sister is killed in an attempt to prevent her and their brother from dating, Pucci stole his brother's memories with his Stand, which developed out of a desire to preserve his sister's memories, essentially destroying his family. This made Pucci come to the conclusion that You Can't Fight Fate, and this mentality and his interactions with Dio led to Pucci becoming an evil that doesn't recognize his own misdeeds.
  • Koko Hekmatyar from Jormungand. She fits all the common characteristics: Cunning and able to adapt; very attractive physically; has a lot of charisma, sophistication, and intelligence, as well as emotional sensitivity; cynical and jaded; mysterious Dark and Troubled Past; Disrespectful of rank and privilege (despite being very rich) and has a distaste for social institutions and norms (in this particular case, geopolitical ones); social isolation; is extremely passionate, with strong personal beliefs which conflict with the values of the status quo, and she views them as superior to others' beliefs; Emotionally conflicted and possibly bipolar; perceptive; world-weary; Mysterious, magnetic, and charismatic; rebellious; Self-critical and introspective; Sophisticated and educated; Struggling with integrity; Self-destructive (possibly); and is socially dominant (maybe sexually dominant but we never see her in a sexual relationship).
  • Alexander Row of Last Exile is a pretty good example. He's Tall, Dark, and Handsome, an officer and captain of his own one-of-a-kind Cool Airship, which he essentially stole from the government and is operating on his own, outside of the law. He is stoic, withdrawn, and brooding (half the time when we see him, he's just sitting in the dark alone), doesn't really listen to a damn thing anyone else tells him and is driven by revenge and revolution. He's also an expert strategist with a crew that will follow him anywhere. He has a troubled past that is revealed to include a dead wife. The princess is also in love with him, and it's doomed to be unrequited. Oh, and he's a total badass.
  • The methodically loyal and incurably self-destructive Reuental from Legend of Galactic Heroes. Reinhard also qualifies in this area very much.
  • Consider Hachiman Hikigaya in My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU. Is he intensely introspective? Yes. Is he cynical and jaded and has he experienced a bargain bin of a dark and troubled past bundled with regrets? Yes. Does he see his own values or passions as above everyone else's? Yes. Is he doggedly determined to follow his values and passions despite trampling over others? Yes. Is he especially physically attractive?... No — well, good enough (though it becomes clear later on that while not gorgeous, he is fairly good-looking and it's really his "dead fish" eyes that earned him a reputation for being unattractive]].
  • Naruto:
    • Itachi Uchiha was assumed by many to be a stoic, ice-cold villain who slaughtered his clan to test the power of his Mangekyo Sharingan. Posthumously, he is revealed to be a conflicted and tragic person who witnessed bloodshed at the age of four (and given he may have unlocked the Sharingan, which is able to record everything well and thus never forget it) and who saw his comrades get run through. He orchestrated a plan to kill off his family after killing his best friend (who let him do it after his failure) to gain the power. All in order to prevent the decades-long bitterness escalate into civil war. He also traumatized his brother in the hopes of molding him to have the power to stop him and become a hero. Unfortunately, his Fatal Flaw of not trusting others or communicating led to every one of his plans failing and having to entrust his brother's best friend to bring back into sense.
    • Sasuke Uchiha, having been deliberately traumatized by Itachi, begins the series as a brooding revenge-obsessed loner. While he starts to grow out of this, he ends up running into Itachu again (who is targeting his best friend Naruto.) He not only gets beaten easily but is forced to relive the slaughter of his family all over again, undoing all of his recovery and breaking him further. In desperation and growing madness, he turns toward Orochimaru in search of more power. After learning the truth of his brother's past, Sasuke swears to avenge Itachi by destroying Konoha, casting aside his allies as his hatred consumes him. After speaking with the resurrected Itachi, Sasuke then decides to overthrow the current system by killing the Kage and setting himself up as the ultimate evil, so that the villages will have to remain united to oppose him. He is finally snapped out of this in his final battle with Naruto.
  • Asuka Langley Soryuu from Neon Genesis Evangelion is selfish, impulsive, self-centered, rude, and borderline misanthropic. She's also lonely, heartbroken, wounded, and desperately searching for her place in life.
    • Most of the cast in general, really, but Shinji, Rei, Misato, and Gendo stand out the most.
  • Panty Anarchy of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt is a more comical (but no less fitting) take on the trope. She's very attractive and skilled at what she does, has lustful desires, and can bed the entire population of Daten City with little effort. However, she's also incredibly lazy, fights only for her own benefit, and does a bunch of insane things that go against what's expected of her. Eventually, these flaws come to bite her in the ass, and she spends a good deal of the last two episodes suffering for them. Her Badass Boast in the final episode summarizes her character pretty well:
    "You're right, I'm just a little bitch and I'm proud of it. But guess what, douchebag? That's not the point. News flash, I don't need special fucking powers to beat the shit out of you. You know why? Because I'm a bitch who doesn't give a fuck. You and your half-dead face can preach about hymens and demons and other weird words that supposedly mean shit, but that doesn't change the fact that if any of you fuckers get in my way, I'm gonna kick some twisted-ass ass. You hear me, dick? I'm a hot bitch angel named Panty. And no matter what anyone says, I DO WHAT I FUCKING WANT!"
    • Stocking counts to a lesser extent. While her Byronic traits are less pronounced, she shares many traits with Panty, has strong romantic ideals compared to her, and is of demonic origin.
  • Werner Locksmith from Planetes. A genius engineer and businessman, he is a total sociopath who, by his own words, "can love only spaceships". He does desire to bring a better life to humanity, but his emotional detachment makes him a ruthless case of Well-Intentioned Extremist, as he firmly believes that Utopia Justifies the Means.
  • Pokémon: The XY series gives us Alain. He is a good looking loner with has a pessimistic personality but is extremely passionate about what he does, thus many people show him admiration. However, he has numerous flaws that makes him easy to be manipulated while also driving away the people who really care for him.
  • Ryo Narushima from Shamo fits almost all characteristics, after killed his parents for mostly unknown reasons at the beginning of the series, he goes on to live a violent and solitary life as he struggles with his personal demons and later gives in to his own immorality and depravity.
  • Zelgadis Graywords from Slayers, more so in the anime than in the novels. His absolutely undeterred lifelong quest for a cure that could turn his chimeric body back into its former human state fits this trope, and toss in the fact that it was his own great-grandfather that did it.
  • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Abandoned at an orphanage with his little brother, Mokuba, by his relatives when their parents died, he grabbed an opportunity to get him and his brother adopted by a big shot CEO. He beats him at chess (Gozaburo Kaiba is very skilled at chess mind you) and impresses Gozaburo so much that not only does he adopt the brothers, he decides to mold the young Seto into his protege and successor... which he does through strict education and training. Seto is hardened by these experiences and successfully overthrows his adopted father to become the new head of the Kaiba Corp. However, he has become much like the man he despises, has a very hard time letting go of the past, and looks down most people (notably Joey) with the only soft spot being toward Mokuba (and children in general) along with his rivalry with Yami Yugi.
  • Zane Truesdale becomes one in Season 3 of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He's a complex, tragic, Secretly Dying Spirited Competitor with an indomitable drive to find a Worthy Opponent and go out on his own terms. Byronic Heroes don't get much more definitive. The passion in his dueling contrasts with both the "perfect" and collected duelist of Season 1 and the Blood Knight of Season 2.
  • Tetsuo from Yuureitou is one of these. He's noted early on to have a "scary" personality and has at multiple times shown a rather Grey and Gray Morality with Magnificent Bastard tendencies. He has no qualms with killing people, and in fact, he killed his adopted mother two years prior to the manga beginning, but overall seems to be a heroic-neutral.
  • Hiei of YuYu Hakusho. Think Yusuke, but dipped in liquid nitrogen, and you'll have a good idea of how cold this guy is.

    Comic Books 
  • Depending on the Writer, The Bat Family are all Byronic heroes to an extent. Batman himself; traumatized as a child, he dedicated his life to a near-impossible mission of cleaning Gotham City of its criminal element, whose brooding, anti-social personality and obsessive, paranoid tendencies often push away those who befriend him, and while he fights for good, he's not really that much saner than the people he fights.
    • Dick Grayson and Stephanie Brown are the closest to aversions, but are ultimately subversions. They've both been pushed to do what they do by tragic childhoods (Dick losing his parents when he was twelve, Steph living with an abusive criminal father), regularly go through traumatic experiences and troubled relationships, and have a handful of personal flaws, but are otherwise completely friendly, well adjusted people who get on with their lives despite their troubles. Both of them are popular with their personal fanbases at least in part because of this.
    • Jason Todd and Cassandra Cain are straighter examples. Jason was a street kid abandoned by his parents who was adopted by Bruce after he tried to steal the Batmobile's wheels. After he was murdered by Joker and brought Back from the Dead he became a snarky gun-using Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain, who feels he was underappreciated during his life and has a poor personal view of himself. Cass was raised by an assassin and gun for hire who wanted a partner he could mold into the perfect killer, and so raised her in the art of killing from a young age, which she saw as a game (including playing 'two for flinching' but with bullets); but when he took her for her first kill, however, she was traumatized from actually taking a life and became a Death Seeker who wanted to atone for her single murder, and is now unable to live a normal life thanks to being raised in a manner without spoken or written language (instead, she was raised to understand body language to make her a better fighter) and suffering from dyslexia on top of that.
    • Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon are aversions who became straight examples as they went on. As Batgirl, Barbara was a Plucky Girl with her life ahead of her, until she was crippled and humiliated by Joker to drive her father insane; to cope, she worked on her computer skills and became Oracle, a cynical, angrier hacking expert who no longer shares the belief that killing is never justified, and while she's recovered from her trauma, she's no longer the person she once was. Tim, meanwhile, was a nerdy Nice Guy who wanted to help his hero through his darkest moment, but life as a superhero lead to the loss of his family, his two best friends, and his girlfriend (all of whom he blamed himself for, even though the latter three came back), and his minor neurotic tendencies became more prominent broodiness until he became detached from society completely. He began getting better before the reboot though.
    • Huntress: brilliant, capable of pulling off daring and convoluted schemes, but also prone to brutal, unthinking violence; loves opera and fine cuisine, but will torture suspects for information; a devout Catholic and an unrepentant multiple murderess; can kill a teenager and crack jokes about it, but G-d help you if you threaten a child under her protection; driven to become a vigilante by the murder of her family when she was a small child, but later killed her own father.
    • Batwoman is sort of a mix between the Nightwing and Huntress examples; she's naturally short-tempered, brutally violent, and has her own share of trauma and flaws, but she's also rather well-adjusted due to personal discipline and isn't typically gloomy and broody.
  • Cable started out like this, as he was a time traveler from a time in constant strife and harbored a ruthless nature, though he has since gone from this to standard Anti-Hero territory. This tends to be Depending on the Writer. When operating alone Cable has no problem using any means at his disposal to achieve his goals, such as torturing Captain America prior to Avengers vs. X-Men. But he has a habit of teaming up with morality pets to rein himself in, not unlike a certain other time traveler.
  • Doctor Doom fits the trope to a T. A poor Romani boy, brilliant in magic and science, carrying an unyielding and disproportionate grudge against his old classmate for showing him up as much as for any imagined sabotage, forever hiding his disfigured face. From nothing but a scholarship that ended in expulsion, he was able to conquer his homeland and make it into a technological power, styling himself king rather than merely dictator, and through it all, maintaining a sense of honor that somehow does not get in the way of his Magnificent Bastardry.
  • Hans von Hammer, the Enemy Ace, is a very heroic example, being a charismatic nobleman who hates war, but is very good at it. His ideals are often at odds with those of his country: true when fighting for Imperial Germany in World War I, and more so in War In Heaven, where he's fighting for Nazi Germany. And he's always extremely broody.
  • Hunter Rose in Grendel, who becomes an arch-criminal simply because he thinks he deserves to dominate everybody else on the planet because he's so much more intelligent and imaginative than they are, and becoming a gangster is the quickest way. Gradually deconstructed, as Matt Wagner became increasingly moral as he got older and started to gradually write Hunter as more and more of a sadistic thug.
  • Iron Man: Tony Stark is womanizing, self-destructive, and forever angsting over his past as an arms-dealer.
  • Lucifer, as presented in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and in his own series. Morpheus may initially give this impression but is revealed to be more of a Tragic Hero as the series goes on, especially considering how he dies/kills himself in the end.
  • Mr. Freeze, the archetypal Anti-Villain from the DC comics and the 90s cartoon, qualifies due to his desire to get revenge on evil businessmen.
  • The Punisher sometimes has moments of this, being an utterly ruthless, brooding and intelligent former Vietnam vet vigilante going on a one-man war against crime.
  • Dwight and Wallace embody this trope more than any other Sin City protagonist: charming, handsome, dark, mysterious, and violent.
  • Spawn: Al Simmons is a self-absorbed anti-hero who deeply loves his former wife and from time to time makes bad decisions due to thinking with the heart instead of the brain. He is also anti-social and doesn't have a good opinion about himself.
  • After The Infinity Gauntlet affair and other bids for absolute power, Thanos of Titan often broods on the circumstances that led him to failure and plans his next attempt to take over the universe, destroy it, and/or woo the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death herself.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Megatron, of all 'bots. Undeniably a genius, charismatic and a powerful warrior, he's decided that the revolution he espoused has more or less failed and that he's failed, and now has to spend the rest of his life dwelling on where he went wrong on a ship full of people who hate him at best, while feeling the increasing sting of his encroaching age. But he'll still snark at the madness that seems to surround the entire cast.
  • V of V for Vendetta certainly fills this trope for the comic book, being a dreamer who wishes to bring total anarchy to a corrupt and totalitarian government. In fact, Alan Moore specifically wrote V in this style in order to make the reader question whether V was actually the hero or just some lunatic who would rather screw over the whole world than be controlled by his government.
  • X-Men:
    • Emma Frost: highly cynical and jaded, Dark and Troubled Past, intense drive and determination to live out her philosophy.
    • Scott Summers, aka Cyclops; always troubled in life thanks to a childhood of trauma, abuse, and pain, when he was pushed into the limelight and got more focus following Decimation, he was forced to lead the X-Men through their darkest hour, and it led to a lot of personal loss as he did what he needed to do to keep the rest of the mutant population alive.
    • Magneto is oftentimes this, as he has had a very troubling past (being a victim of Nazi cruelty), sees himself as a freedom fighter, and will often do heinous things in what he believes is for the better good of mutantkind. Authors often even describe portraying him as "Malcolm X to counter Professor X as Martin Luther King."

    Fan Works 
  • The Alexandra Quick series has quite a few.
    • Not least is the main character. Aside from being female and not remarkably attractive physically, she fits all of the traits listed above being charismatic and magnetic, extremely intelligent and cunning, driven and rebellious but also brooding and arrogant, with severe self-esteem issues arising from her Dark and Troubled Past.
    • The Dark Wizard Abraham Thorn, Alexandra's father, fits the bill even better, being a dark, idealistic, brilliant and ruthless political revolutionary as well as a womanizer and playboy. He has a Dark and Troubled Past of his own though less has been revealed.
    • And Maximillian King, brilliant, brooding and devastatingly handsome but coping with lots of suppressed rage, shame, and more than a few dark secrets.
    • Alexandra's classmate Darla Dearborn eventually turns into this: attractive, manipulative, cunning, absolutely obsessed with her goals and slowly going mad from guilt and anxiety.
    • Special Inquisitor Diana Grimm. Intelligent, cunning and manipulative? Check. Cynical and Jaded? Check, Dark and Troubled Past and deep obsession? Check...
  • And The Story Continues:
  • Spoofed in 3 Slytherin Marauders when Snape snarks that Sirius is just a poor "misunderstood Byronic hero."
  • Ultimate Sleepwalker: Even other-dimensional psychic aliens can pass into this trope. Sleepwalker obviously isn't cute, but he: is deeply torn about his identity as a Sleepwalker trapped in a world of humans, the different mentalities of the two races and whether he's starting to adopt a human mentality and losing his identity as a Sleepwalker in the process; wrestles with his feelings of loneliness and the very real friendships he's formed with many of the humans of the world; struggles with his desire to return his home dimension of the Mindscape and his feeling that he is not worthy to return home until he finally atones for his original sin of becoming trapped in Rick Sheridan's mind; broods over those same mistakes and failures, for which he has never truly forgiven himself; becomes extremely violent whenever Rick or his other close human friends are threatened and taking pleasure in brutalizing criminals who hurt them. While Rick and his friends have tried to show Sleepwalker that he's not alone, they don't really understand that Sleepwalker doesn't feel he can belong in this world the way they do...and more importantly, that he shouldn't be belonging in this world, for all the real good he's done as a superhero.
  • Widget Hackwrench, the initial Big Bad of the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers fanfic Under the Bridge, not only becomes one, but even describes herself as such. She does do a Heel–Face Turn and even finds love and a soft side to herself, but she cannot simply shake off her Dark and Troubled Past which led to her actions earlier in the story, starting with her lack of fur color and a left arm and almost drowning as a newborn which she always thought was attempted murder, continuing with her life in an orphanage and with a drug addict, and culminating in building an advanced armed submarine out of mostly junk and hiring a war veteran mouse as its captain just to kill her more fortunate sister in revenge for her own miserable life. It even goes to show somewhat at her own wedding: She distrusts the world around her so much that she wears a Kevlar dress.
  • Lord Shen gets this portrayal in The Vow. He's a highly intelligent and proud noble who has faced alienation because of his white coloring and seeks to assert his worth to the world. When he sets his mind to something, he strives for perfection, even at a cost to himself. Unfortunately, he crosses the moral line in his fervent ambition, commits mass murder to prevent his prophesied downfall and faces exile as a result. He then dedicates three decades in preparation of taking revenge for all the perceived wrongdoings thrown at him. He cannot stop loving his former fiancée Lady Lianne even in hatred, but neither can he consider stepping from his dark road because that would be a waste of everything he has prepared for so long. In the end, Shen gets a Bittersweet Ending: he survives his defeat, loses his freedom and becomes crippled, but at least he can live with his wife Lianne and their son Zian in anonymity.

    Film — Animated 
  • Elsa from Frozen, is a female example. She causes all the problems faced by her sister and her kingdom in the movie. But she is Not Evil, Just Misunderstood and emotionally fragile. Her legendary "Let It Go" song is essentially an anthem to a Romantic sort of Existentialism — she is letting go of the conventions of society that have shackled her and her abilities.
  • Mentioned but never used in The Incredibles. One of the former superheroes Syndrome killed (and Syndrome was initially mistaken for) was named "Byronic".

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Sydney Prosser in American Hustle. She's a con artist who, it's strongly indicated, got into the game with a highly Romanticized view towards the life. Throughout the film, she's put through the emotional wringer—especially from her conflicting feelings towards whether she should abandon her lover for the FBI agent who's offering her a different path—as she struggles to decide what path she should take for herself. Bonus points for being played by Amy Adams, who is well known for typically playing heroines with a highly Romantic worldview (e.g. Princess Giselle or Lois Lane).
  • Citizen Kane is an archetypal example. As a little boy, he gets snatched from his family and introduced into the cold, ruthless world of media, politics, and business. By rising to the top of that ruthless world through cutthroat cunning, he becomes an internationally famous media tycoon and one of the richest men of all time. But under all that wealth, he's a broken man who can't hold down a relationship with anyone and desperately longs for his stolen childhood.
  • Britt Reid in The Green Hornet. Ungrateful, deluded, ungrateful, egomaniacal, self-centered, ungrateful, immature, stupid and did we mention ungrateful. He is not shown to have one decent or redeeming quality about him - even after he manages to drive away Kato, until his extravagant efforts to promote the Hornet as a menace resulted in the deaths of seven innocents who just happened to be wearing green. His horror at the consequences of his selfishness is the first time we get to see a decent and heroic side to him, and he gets better from there.
  • Martin Blank from Grosse Pointe Blank. As a man who recognized that he was a sociopath from a young age, he chose to exile himself rather that inflict misery on his friends. He does develop some humanity at the end but still remained a Professional Killer.
  • "Fast Eddie" Felson of The Hustler is a milder example. He's obsessed with beating "Minnesota Fats" and proving himself the best pool player, despite the destructive effect it has on his life.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe offers several examples:
    • Tony Stark: cynical, womanizing, ex-weapons maker and alcoholic who is frequently haunted by his past. Over the course of the films, he frequently does as much harm as good. His arrogance, zealous passion, and guilt are manipulated by Scarlet Witch, leading to the creation of Ultron, resulting in the Sokovia Accords.
    • Bruce Banner (both the Edward Norton and Mark Ruffalo portrayals) has shades of this. He is a brilliant, non-confrontational scientist who is terrified of his own destructive potential, considering himself a monster because of the Hulk, though in reality, the Hulk is more of necessary darkness that Banner must one day accept as part of who he is.
    • Loki is the embodiment of Byronic traits. He is physically attractive and charismatic but struggles with his own personal integrity. He is intelligent, perceptive, sophisticated, educated, cunning and adaptable, but also self-centered. He sees his values and passions as above others, manifesting as arrogance. He is emotionally sensitive and conflicted and dwells on the perceived injustices of his life to the point of over-indulgence.
  • Noah has its title protagonist who hits just about every box: Flawed, angsty, passionate (outright fanatical) with his beliefs, an exile who lives far from the industrial civilization of Cain, an opposing philosophy that he wishes to impose upon the world and self-destructive.
  • Both Johnny and Bodhi in Point Break. Johnny suffers from Game-Breaking Injury and Bodhi is apparently haunted by Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Prisoners gives us two examples:
    • Keller Dover, who takes extreme measures and does whatever he feels necessary to find his missing daughter while being uncooperative with the police investigation.
    • Detective Loki has several characteristics that made him fit the bill of being Byronic: Arrogant, brooding, moody, sophisticated, mysterious, passionate and rebellious.
  • Dr. Herbert West from the Re-Animator franchise is maybe an odd case. He genuinely doesn't want to hurt anyone, but his blind pursuit of science leads to him doing some REALLY dreadful stuff in its name. He also has many flaws, including bluntness and lack of social skills.
  • George Emerson in A Room with a View and its source material. This is lampshaded when Mr. Beebe finds a book of Byron in George's house and his only comment is "Exactly."
  • Scent of a Woman: Frank Slade is this. Sarcastic, womanizing, and very intelligent, he's also got a hard shell to get through initially. It doesn't help that his brother prefers to avoid him and he reclused himself off from the world after his blinding accident.
  • The 1960s B-movie Single Room Furnished tells the story of a woman (Jayne Mansfield Playing Against Type in one of her late films) who, in spite of her looks, ended up as a hooker since her life spiraled down after being a victim of the Cartwright Curse.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: John Harrison/Khan. He fits the bill in a few ways; Brooding, charismatic, and physically attractive but also incredibly vengeful, prideful and was once an Evil Overlord back in the day.
  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader was raised as a slave before joining a warrior order. His status as The Chosen One made him arrogant, while the loss of his mother left him a brooding and temperamental figure who initially fights for good but is driven to villainy out of love for his wife, who he fears will die. Even after he turns to the Dark Side, he still believes himself to be on the side of justice. Furthermore, the television shows reveal further things, such as the travesty of war and seeing so many soldiers die along with seeing his student undergo wanton cruelty and betrayal to where she refuses to rejoin the order when her name is cleared. Combine this with the stoicism and emotional control imposed by the Jedi Order and we see further how the young Skywalker became Vader.
    • Kylo Ren/Ben Solo, Vader's grandson from the sequel trilogy, also counts (albeit, not as a hero). He's tormented by a split in his soul between the light and the dark, very emotional, extremely determined, sarcastic and cynical, an attractive Pretty Boy, and has unique and rather anarchic beliefs about destroying everything from the past. He has the potential for good and has suffered quite a bit, but some of it is through his own doing and his adamance in his beliefs stops him from embracing that potential.
  • Doc Holliday in Tombstone is a sympathetic example. Dangerous, charismatic, intelligent, and brooding due to his terminal tuberculosis.
  • V from V for Vendetta (though not as much as in the comic). He has a mysterious past and is verbosely eloquent, cultured, charismatic, brooding, and defiant of the authority that has wronged him. At the same time, he is driven by vengeance, murderous, sadistic, subversive, and wantonly destructive.
  • Achilles in Troy has many of the distinct traits, although if you read the backstory, he may or may not be a Tragic Hero instead, depending on if his flaws were meant to be flaws at all.
  • Victor Frankenstein: Victor possesses many classic traits of this trope: he's very intelligent, handsome, self-absorbed, emotionally volatile, tormented by his past, his beliefs (which he considers to be morally superior) clash with society's, and he's extremely stubborn. The single-minded pursuit of his goals becomes detrimental to both his mental health and his friendship with Igor.
  • The Wages of Fear: The main characters Mario and Jo are unsympathetic people and combining it with their panache and friendship for one another fits this trope.
  • Tommy Conlon from Warrior, is a quiet, distant loner, who has very painful experiences in his family life and in the Marines. When fighting, he is very ruthless, curb-stomping his opponents in one hit. In addition, he is shown to have a certain disregard for rules, such as not attending press-conferences and leaving the ring immediately after matches. He also has quite the charisma, as he actually gains a huge number of fans because of this.
  • Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in X-Men: First Class is a milder case. Morally troubled, emotionally damaged, attractive, and very charismatic about his pro-mutant beliefs. Particularly to some of the impressionable younger characters like Mystique.

  • Ferdinando Falkland from Caleb Williams qualifies. In his younger days, Falkland is a highly attractive, passionate, intelligent, and sophisticated man. He often muses on the injustices of life, and how to correct them. He is intensely committed to living out his chivalric ideals and behave as a modern knight. Then he murders someone. Post-murder Falkland is haunted by his crimes and full of guilt and self-hatred, but nonetheless determined to defend his name, even to the point of self-destruction. He even wanders out to cliffs in stormy weather.
  • Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. Angry, brooding and confused, but he secretly doesn't want to be any of those things. His cynicism and his past, unfortunately, hold him back.
  • Lord Byron's semi-autobiographical poem Childe Harold's Pilgrimage contains one of the earliest Byronic heroes to be actually named as such.
  • Valraven Palindrake in The Chronicles of Magravandias. He takes a step into Villain Protagonist territory for a while when he's possessed, but considering how hard he fights against it, he still comes out of it as heroic as the series allows. Played with in that the reader knows all about his Dark and Troubled Past but his second wife doesn't.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo: The Count, a man so obsessed by revenge that no means of ensuring his enemies' destruction is too heinous for him to consider. It's superficially lampshaded early on when someone remarks that he looks an awful lot like the incarnation of Lord Ruthven, a fictional character based on Lord Byron himself.
  • Stavrogin in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Demons is a particularly nasty deconstruction; it's lampshaded early in the book that this character type was common in Russian literature (and society) at the time.
  • Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of literature is that, while the Public-Domain Character Don Juan is usually written as a selfish, haughty, shameless womanizer and fits this trope to a tee, Lord Byron's own version of the character doesn't. The hero of Byron's mock epic, Don Juan, is not at all villainous or malicious, but easily manipulated and misunderstood.
  • Raistlin Majere of the Dragonlance books fits this trope perfectly. He's arrogant, ruthless, cynical, emotionally troubled, and ultimately evil. He's also highly intelligent, strong-willed, and capable of extraordinary bravery.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden is an interesting subversion of this, in that the books suggest that much of the magical community sees him like this - at least, the ones who don't know him well personally. The fact that the books are in first-person, and therefore we get to see his (often hilarious and self-deprecating) inner monologue, tends to take away the 'dark and mysterious' image. That, and his penchant for cracking wise at all of the wrong moments.
    • Dresden's best frenemy, crime lord John Marcone, can be viewed in this light. The book "Death Masks" reveals that he bases his style of "doing business," which involves keeping collateral damage to an absolute minimum and punishing harshly any criminals who try to operate in Chicago without his go-ahead, on guilt over a young girl taking a bullet that was meant for him in his younger days, leaving her in a coma. He provides for her medical care, reads to her and even arranges to have the Shroud of Turin stolen in an attempt to heal her, all while running what is implied to be the largest organized-crime empire in America.
  • Elric of Melnibone from The Elric Saga is a weak and frail albino, heir of the Vestigial Empire of the Melniboneans, who unlike most others of his race, struggles with his conscience. Because of his introspective self-loathing of Melnibonéan traditions, his subjects find him a weak ruler. On the other side, he's a powerful sorcerer and has the BFS ever (which happens to also eat souls), and is the Eternal Champion destined to restore Balance to the Earth and allow the powers of Law a chance to create a better future world. All these things bring him as much angst as you would expect.
  • Dean Priest of the Emily of New Moon series embodies a number of these character traits. He's well-educated and charismatic, but his disabilities have also made him cynical and bitter, as well as rather self-destructive. He travels often, which makes him a bit of a self-imposed exile. He is a loner. He is self-interested to a degree, but can also be selfless when he wants to be. LM Montgomery also gives him lots of Mr. Rochester parallels, who is himself a Byronic hero.
  • The title character of Eugene Onegin can be both seen as an example, a parody, and a deconstruction. While he fits the mold in his cynical, self-destructive nature, he has more than a little of the Upper-Class Twit in him and is kind of ineffectual compared to similar characters. Lampshaded when Tatiana, Eugene's love interest, visits his library, understands that he has been invokng Romantic tropes when dealing with her, and asks herself: "Isn't he a parody?"
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein:
    • Victor Frankenstein is a rather nice Byronic hero (who is not the monster!). His dangerous experiments with science and very troubled past makes him qualify. His lack of compassion and responsibility for his creation, who desperately longed for his love and affection, makes him less redeemable than characters who are just misunderstood by society. He still does have some good traits though, such as his adoration of Elizabeth and his admiration of his friend Henry Clerval.
    • The Monster (or the Creature, as he is more often called in the novel) also qualifies. He is incredibly eloquent, brilliant, and persuasive in his best moments. He is also filled with characteristically Byronic anguish and despair due to being cut off from humanity as a result of his ugliness and unnatural birth (or creation, depending on how you look at it). He also murders everyone Victor ever loved. Some literary critics have interpreted the Creature as Victor's dark side.
  • The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby is maybe a sympathetic example. As a poor soldier, he fell hopelessly in love with beautiful socialite Daisy, who got married to her equal, a Jerk Jock Tom from old money, but he is determined to win her back. He would do — and does — anything for Daisy, who, sadly, doesn't quite deserve it. Gatsby heavily idealized and romanticized Daisy and everything about her. Gradually, it becomes obvious that Gatsby's opulent wealth comes from smuggling and organized crime, but he's more compassionate than most of the "law-abiding" characters.
  • Grigoriy Aleksandrovich Pechorin in Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time is both a good example and possibly a deconstruction, being very smart and all the more miserable for it. Also, he's not even the protagonist as such and dies "off-screen". The author apparently intended to stretch the idea of the Byronic hero to its limits:
    "You will again tell me that a human being cannot be so wicked, and I will reply that if you can believe in the existence of all the villains of tragedy and romance, why wouldn't believe that there was a Pechorin?"
  • Harry Potter provides a few examples.
    • Severus Snape is essentially a Byronic hero, as seen by a protagonist who sees much more of his negative qualities than his positive ones. He's an intelligent loner who's also completely insufferable, with a tragic backstory involving death and unrequited love which caused him to become embittered but also to go over to the side of good.
    • Sirius is apparently quite clever and used to be very attractive before the strain of being locked up for twelve years for a crime he didn't commit ruined his good looks. Plus, bonus points for being slightly mad, a wee bit homicidal, and the last heir of a noble family from which he inherited a spooky old house. And both he and Snape have a flair for the melodramatic.
  • In the Horatio Hornblower literature series, the title character is an honorable, dutiful, and humble man who acts with great courage under fire. However, he's also a brooding, melancholic mess whose humility verges on self-loathing, often shocked that people might care about him. Underneath his stoic facade is a world-class worrywart, and his courage under fire (in spite of his fears) is matched only by his cowardice in matters of the heart. He's also tone-deaf and never gets over his seasickness, much to his humiliation. In Commodore Hornblower his wife thoughtfully provides him with a copy of Byron's newly-published Childe Harold to while away the hours at sea. It is not to his taste:
    ''"Bombast and fustian," he said to himself, flipping through the pages.'
  • Dom Claude Frollo from Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A compassionate, fatherly person for most of his life, by the time the novel begins, he, while still brilliant, is isolated by his alchemical studies and ultimately doomed by his lust for Esmeralda.
  • Nearly every hero in The Hunger Games falls under this category, really. The book series goes to great lengths to show how most of the characters are flawed and troubled.
  • In Ivanhoe Bois Guilbert is a perfect example. He is portrayed as a proud warrior and a passionate man who by his own admission holds nothing sacred save his given word. He gets infatuated with Rebecca, proceeds to kidnap her and over the course of the story begins to respect and admire her fortitude. Yet unwittingly and tragically he ends up condemning her to a painful death at the stake. The most poignant scene of the book is the tournament to determine Rebecca's guilt where Bois Guilbert's immense pride and hatred for Wilfred of Ivanhoe contends with his desire to save Rebecca and make up for his mistake. The result? Unable to bring himself to strike and defeat Ivanhoe and indirectly seal Rebecca's fate and at the same time unable to bear the shame of accepting defeat at the hands of a wounded Ivanhoe, he dies, not a victim of any physical injury, but his own passions.
  • Jane Eyre's Love Interest, Mr. Rochester is the heroic version. A taste for such heroes seems to have run in the Brontë family. He's dark and troubled, snarky and attractive despite his lack of good looks. Society frowns upon his ways, but deep down he's a good person who suffered horribly. Good that in his case Love Redeems.
  • Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: Jonathan Strange ends up as one for a while, although he did have a heroic motive. It was lampshaded with Strange explaining that he picked up some of Lord Byron's style from hanging out with him. (Incidentally, the description of Byron himself is distinctly unimpressed; when Byron deliberately strikes a deep and brooding expression the narration compares it to the look of someone suffering indigestion.)
  • Denethor from The Lord of the Rings is a bit of a byronic hero: a beautiful, kingly and powerful man with enough strength of will to grapple with Sauron through the palantír and not submit to him (which even Saruman couldn't manage). He's devoted to the good of Gondor, of which he considers himself the rightful lord; but when he comes to believe that Gondor is doomed (along with his own line of succession), he proudly commits suicide (and attempts to have his son killed alongside him) rather than surrender or be slain by Sauron's forces.
  • Deconstructed by Uncle Andrew in The Magician's Nephew. With his willingness to break social conventions and everyday morality For Science!, his contempt for the common person, and his seeming devotion to a broader ideal (he uses the phrase 'ours is a high and lonely destiny' when referring to himself), he first appears quite glamorous to his nephew Diggory — but then Diggory realizes that his uncle makes other people bear all the costs of his experiments, and comes to understand that Andrew is little more than an everyday bully. Furthermore, when the professor runs up against a genuine Übermensch later in the story, all his pretentions collapse and he ends up cutting quite a pathetic figure.
  • No one in the Mistborn books is ever entirely sure whether Kelsier is a revenge-obsessed Glory Hound or a Well-Intentioned Extremist Guile Hero, but either way he's brilliant and so much larger than life that even his handwriting is legendarynote .
  • Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments is handsome, brooding, charismatic, aloof, the list goes on. Also a Death Seeker and drenched in Mangst. He has a very strong personal presence, but he's not exactly a source of much positivity.
  • Prince Vladimir from the Nightfall (Series) is very intelligent, sophisticated, and educated, but also self-centered and evil. Tristan also fits, including the time before he became a vampire.
  • C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith is an Anti-Hero, but his sidekick Yarol is definitely Byronic. Unlike the ruggedly handsome Smith, Yarol is androgynously, uncannily beautiful, and feminine beauty in its extreme is explicitly stated to denote evil in the universe of the stories. While the reader never learns the details of Yarol's villainy, he willingly participates in human trafficking merely to pay for his space booze. At one point, Yarol's humanity is stripped away and he is transformed into a predatory beast-echo. When he is returned to his original state, it is surprisingly easy and the whole process seems to tax Yarol very little. Smith realizes that this is because Yarol had very little humanity to begin with.
  • A modern example in John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series: Petty Officer Mike "Ghost" Harmon, AKA Mike Jenkins, a former US Navy SEAL medically retired due to multiple injuries who, through a series of coincidences and perfectly-rational decisions in response to them, thwarts three major terrorist attacks in the course of a few months and becomes the millionaire lord of a clan of modern-day Vikings in the mountains of Georgia (the country, not the state). Mike (who is constantly reminding those around him that he's not a good man) unabashedly considers himself a rapist at heart but holds himself to a strict Warrior Code while channeling his baser urges into heavy BDSM. Any time he comes across a man who doesn't restrain his darker nature, things get nasty. At the same time, he often shows a surprisingly compassionate side, especially to girls that he and his Keldara warriors have rescued from sex traffickers.
  • Satan himself, from Paradise Lost, is perhaps the grandfather of this trope. Satan is an exceptional, extremely charismatic and deeply flawed creature who rebels against his society (Heaven) and grapples with his morality.
  • Ralph Touchett from The Portrait of a Lady is brooding, but completely devoted to his true love Isabelle Archer.
  • The Sea Wolf: Wolf Larsen pings all the criteria listed in the page description. He doesn't hesitate to enforce his beliefs on his world (defined by his ship) and is something of a Straw Nihilist with an extremely hedonistic world-view. He is also the Big Bad and is completely open about the fact that he is an unrepentant asshole on his BEST days.
  • In The Secret History, there's Henry Winter, college student, Renaissance Man, and Chessmaster extraordinaire. By the end of the book, he has organized and carried out an ancient Greek Dionysian ritual, killed one man by accident and one on purpose successfully kept himself and his friends from being arrested, and says that he is finally happy because he can "live without thinking". Most of the school dislikes or hates him, his few friends admire him, and one falls in love with him. He likes dead languages and growing roses. He also kills himself, and the fallout of his various plots arguably ruins his friends' lives.
  • The Silmarillion:
    • Fëanor startedout as The Ace: a master linguist(he is essentially responsible for written Quenya as we know it) a master smith/artisan/craftsman (the greatest ever actually, crafted the eponymous Silmarils, created the Palantirs or at least their forerunners, so on and so forth) etc, however as non-extant slights and jealousy eat away at his good parts, leaving only his quick temper and arrogance behind, he went on to become at best the very picture of Nominal Hero at worst a kind of Visionary Villain who commits genocide, betrays long time friends and even family and even declares war and everlasting enmity on even gods should they get in his way.
    • Túrin Turambar was a great warrior and a prince, and he is the person who finally kills the dragon Glaurung. But when his father was captured by Morgoth, he was forced to live in exile. Túrin is serious and brooding, and his impulsiveness brings destruction to the people around him. For example, he accidentally kills his best friend Beleg when he mistakes Belen for an orc. Another example is that an elf princess named Finduilas falls in love with him (though he doesn't seem to notice) because he was handsome, with black hair and pale skin, but he fails to save her from Morgoth's army. But the most extreme example is that after Túrin finally slays the dragon Glaurung, he then commits suicide after learning that he accidentally married his sister Niënor (who also killed herself after this revelation).
  • Simona Ahrnstedt's male protagonists are all Byronic when we first meet them. Seth in "Överenskommelser", Markus in "Betvingade" and Gabriel in "De skandalösa" all are charismatic men with a questionable reputation and a tragic past. But as these novels belong to the Romance Genre, they will of course find love and be redeemed.
  • Peter David's Sir Apropos of Nothing, who only became a squire because he would be killed otherwise. He loathes long tales of heroic derring-do, and became a full-fledged villain for a while.
  • The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin has Diana Rossouw, who is intelligent but emotionally unstable, and values her freedom to the point of being callously amoral.
  • For being a franchise who counts Loads and Loads of Characters, A Song of Ice and Fire collects a large amount:
    • Tyrion Lannister seems to be almost exactly this, sans the good looks. He is an extremely cunning, intelligent guy who will make a supreme politician if only someone gives him the credit he deserves. The tragedy of his life is that in a world of Beauty Equals Goodness, it's very difficult for him to achieve the power or he longs for, and his cast aside but his own father and the woman he loved was horribly taken away from him because she was a commoner. Since he sides with his family, the supposed bad guys, he's an Anti-Villain whose actions throughout the first part of the series help further the cause of House Lannister and when he acts ruthless is merely out of pragmatism. He's eventually getting darker and more cynic after discovering his commoner wife was not a prostitute hired for him and murdered his father for that. Since then he has defected his family and he's siding with the Targaryen, following his path of revenge.
    • His older brother Jaime is one as well. He's by reputation the most handsome man in Westeros and one of the most dangerous as well. He starts off presented as rather villainous, brash, cynical and prone to reckless behavior such as slaughtering some of Ned's guard in response of his brother Tyrion's kidnapping by Ned's wife, not to mention his Bodyguard Betrayal of King Aerys, which is still frowned upon years after and his incestuous passion for his twin sister Queen Cersei. Then the third book reveals he has his share of emotional baggage which mostly consist of guilt for the death of Rhaegar's children and having lied about Tyrion's wife being a prostitute. After having lost his sword hand and having met warrior girl Brienne, he's actively moving to more honorable behavior, though at his own interpretation of the rules.
    • Somebody who goes to great lengths to both downplay and, therefore, "hide" exactly how mad he is (by Westerosi standards both in love and philosophy), just how bad he is (by just about anybody's standards in every category you could choose) and how incredibly, bleeding dangerous just knowing him is, is Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. From his Start of Darkness to his justification that there's no other way for him to win than by completely changing the game in his favor, yeah... He's what happens when a Byronic type goes really seriously dark on everybody for semi-justifiable reasons. Also, he thinks in very Braavosi terms in a place that quite clearly doesn't — and, consciously uses that to his advantage. Which, should surprise nobody: the Fingers form the closest point to Braavos in continental Westeros, his family was originally from there and they have always had access to fishing boats.
    • The Targaryens by themselves have produced a great deal of them:
      • Rhaegar Targaryen seems to have been one. Rhaegar repeatedly stated to have had "melancholy eyes", that matched his brooding nature and was a charismatic wise prince who played the harp and liked spending time alone. It also seems that his path was generally driven by a prophecy he read as a boy, and to keep faith to it, he became one of Westeros' finest swords. People expected him to become a great king, but he lost his life in a war for the woman he loved, whom he couldn't have since he was already married and she was about to marry his cousin. He was also born under inauspicious circumstances (the Tragedy at Summerhall) and often mused about it. And most of all the true meaning of his actions are still shrouded in mystery and fount of speculations in-universe and out.
      • Prince Daemon Targaryen was a prince, a pirate, and a rogue and lived and loved dangerously. His enemies at court were terrified of him for his mercurial and ruthless nature and tried to keep him away from the throne when his brother King Viserys lacked male heirs. After being passed over for the Iron Throne once, he flew off to conquer the Stepstones with his dragon and made himself a petty pirate king until he got bored of fighting. In the years he led the City Guard he was fond of visiting brothels, gambling pits, consorting with lowlifes and generally hanging out with all sort of scums. He was also capable of great bravery and strength and died fighting the greatest dragon alive planting a Taking You with Me gambit.
      • Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers, bastard son of King Aegon IV, was the most important political figure during his time at King's Landing and most certainly the greatest Master of Spies to have ever served the Iron Throne. But he was a very controversial guy: rumored to be a sorcerer (and indeed he was since he could skinchange in his crows) who controlled the kingdom with his crows and suppressed the Blackfyre Rebellion in blood. His ruthless actions to keep the Targaryens on the throne eventually earned him a one-way ticket to The Wall. But even there he managed to become Lord Commander until he disappeared Beyond the Wall. It's revealed he didn't disappear - he instead became a powerful half-weirwood figure in a cave with the Children of the Forest and he's still watching Westeros and his descendants.
    • Oberyn Martell. A handsome, highly skilled, intelligent and charismatic man who lives and loves dangerously, cares nothing for what other people think of him (it helps that he's from a part of Westeros that follows different customs), and utterly driven by an obsession with avenging his sister's brutal murder that results in his own demise, only for Oberyn to get the last laugh by poisoning his killer.
  • Gully Foyle in Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, a The Count of Monte Cristo set in a future where people can teleport, starts out as this: he lives entirely to take revenge on the ship that declined to rescue him from his own crippled spacecraft (not the crew, just the ship; he's not that bright) and stops at nothing to do so, including raping perhaps the one completely likable character in the whole book. However, he gradually becomes more of a traditional hero and a messiah of sorts.
  • Another Bronte example. Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall has a rare female example in the titular tenant, Helen Graham. She's reclusive, broody, an outcast to society because of her outrageous actions (by 19th-century English social norms), is plagued by her Dark and Troubled Past, and is really cold towards the narrator and her Love Interest, Gilbert Markham. That said, she's very determined and has her understandable reasons for why she committed taboos.
  • Captain Nemo from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He is dark, moody, passionate, and his values are rather revolutionary.
  • Edward Cullen of Twilight is lonely but can't stand how much he wants Bella Swan and her blood.
    Edward: Beautiful? This is the skin of a killer, Bella.
  • Lord Ruthven of the novella The Vampyre, as well as the Lord Ruthven from a novel by Lady Lamb above, are both based on Byron — they are (like their more famous literary descendant, Count Dracula), however, examples of Byronic villains rather than heroes.
  • Captain John Rumford in post-apocalyptic Victoria is a very Romantic character, a tragic, passionate soldier-intellectual, and revolutionist who will make any sacrifice and do whatever he has to in order to bring about his reactionary utopia. And even what measures of success he does obtain do not seem to bring him any lasting happiness.
  • Irial from Wicked Lovely, although he definitely has redeeming qualities: selflessness and his love for Niall being the most prominent.
  • In Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights Villain Protagonist Heathcliff goes to extreme lengths to ruin the lives of both the Linton family and the Earnshaw family as revenge for his lost love Catherine at one point even kidnapping Catherine's daughter, Cathy and Nelly and forcing Cathy to marry his son. He even admits to purposely trying to hurt Catherine, in her deathbed, for betraying him though he still loved her. Admired by millions of people throughout the world, even though he is quite clearly a very evil man. Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights as a deconstruction of the Gothic genre and of Byronic heroes; actually averted because Heathcliff is genuinely dangerous to those around him and not just misunderstood by society.

    Live Action TV 
  • Bellamy Blake from The 100 ticks off most of the checklist: male, very attractive, used his charisma to become the 100's leader, led them in rebellion against the Ark, is not above violence or murder to achieve his goals, is driven by a fierce sense of loyalty that overrides other moral concerns, but is tormented by guilt over past mistakes. However, since he's only the show's supporting lead, his Byronic qualities are often challenged or undermined by the actual lead protagonist.
    • Lincoln also has all the hallmarks of a Byronic hero, but with the caveat that he comes from a brutal society of tribal warriors, and the ways he rebels against that society's values actually bring him into much closer alignment with conventional modern values.
  • Angel:
    • Angel, The Vampire With Soul!
      Cordelia: (spinning in chair) Look, I'm Angel! "No, I can't do anything fun tonight. I have to count my past sins, then alphabetize them. Oh, by the way, I'm thinking of snapping on Friday."
    • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce for a good time of later seasons fills the role of the Byronic hero as a cynical, self-destructive drunkard with a troubled past and horrible crime behind him and only a vast intellect to sustain him. Losing the love of his life to a demonic body-snatcher — and then being asked to coach said hellspawn to assimilate into mortal life — didn't do him any favors.
  • From Babylon 5:
    • Londo Mollari is an old, bitter, and cynical republican who dreams of days of bygone glories, and is willing to undergo a Deal with the Devil to see his ideals come to fruition. He spends most of the show's run highlighting and showcasing the darker sides of both the overhanging conflict and Babylon Five itself, and while he is almost as important to the story as Sheridan, Londo's part of it is decisively darker and is won with backstabbing and intrigue. In the end, Londo ends up more of a Tragic Hero when he is forced to pay the piper for his past misdeeds.
    • Season 5 introduced a group of telepath refugees looking for a place to create a home for their kind, away from the prejudices of others. Their leader's name is Byron Gordon, and that's not a coincidence.
    • Plus, she often seems moody, due to the random outbursts of sadness and anger. She even assaulted a police officer because he took her son's toy away from her, which turned on a robot psychologist in her brain.
  • Edmund Blackadder in his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th incarnations. He might disagree though, as he once described a Byronic hero as someone who wanders around Italy in a big shirt, trying to get laid.
  • Raymond Reddington of The Blacklist is a ruthless, charismatic criminal mastermind. He has built a global criminal empire over the course of thirty years and established himself at the top of the underworld. He also has a strong and radical moral code that enshrines loyalty while also endorsing murder, torture, and other heinous acts in service of a greater goal.
  • Jimmy Darmody of Boardwalk Empire. He is detached, intelligent, moody, yet charismatic and handsome. He is often seen in a brooding state of mind, tends to be abrasive towards those around him, yet he operates on a moral code.
  • Alan Shore from Boston Legal, a brilliant lawyer with no hopes of advancement within his firm due to his unwillingness to play by the rules. He is intelligent, charismatic, the office Casanova and deeply philosophical. Also he takes seemingly impossible cases and often wins due to his fiery passion, skilled oratory and questionably legal tactics.
  • in Continuum, Kiera is a lot like this, especially since her fixation on getting back to her son often leads to the detriment of the people around her.
  • Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald from Cracker was a Byronic Criminal Psychologist. Best summed up by this conversation:
    Thomas: Why do you drink so much?
    Fitz: I like it.
    Thomas: And smoke so much?
    Fitz: I like it.
    Thomas: And you gamble as well?
    Fitz: Yes, I like it.
  • The Defenders (2017):
    • Jessica Jones (2015): Jessica is a cynical and brooding Broken Bird who feels intense guilt over many events in her Dark and Troubled Past, including the death of her family and her actions under Kilgrave's control. She's not above violence or intimidation when it comes to doing what she has to get done.
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Matt Murdock, and later Frank Castle. Matt and Frank have both been changed by traumatic circumstances in their lives, and both have adopted lives of vigilantism because of those circumstances. Both are controversial figures in-story, dividing opinions and driving others away in their fervent pursuit of their ideals. The major difference between the two of them is that Matt has not yet become convinced that he's an evil man (though he's nearly constantly questioning it), while Frank considers himself dead and damned. Frank's moral nihilism has pushed him to take far more drastic and deadly methods, while Matt refuses to take a life.
      • Wilson Fisk. His opposition to Daredevil comes from both having different ideas of how to improve Hell's Kitchen. Fisk does monstrous things, but ultimately believes he is working for the greater good, with this belief inspiring several fiercely loyal associates. Coming from almost nothing, Fisk grew up with an absolutely terrible childhood that haunts him well into maturity. Introspective and emotionally complicated, his success as Matt's nemesis is due in large part to the fact that both of them are working to fix the city, but both also worry that they might be monsters.
  • In Doctor Who the Doctor qualifies, if only for his collateral damage count, including the genocide in the Time War to save the universe. However, how much of a Byronic hero he is is highly dependent on the episode and era. The Ninth Doctor fits the trope very closely, as did the First. Other incarnations that come close are the Tenth, though he tries very hard to throw off the "cynical and jaded" part; and the Seventh, although he doesn't qualify for the aesthetic aspects and has some prominent traits atypical for this trope. The Sixth Doctor, modelled by his actor after Mr Darcy, wishes he was this, but it's an affectation, and hardly a convincing one either. The Fourth Doctor, with his Tall, Dark, and Snarky traits, unpredictable and often quite broody personality, tendency towards Antiquated Linguistics, head of dark curls, striking, otherworldly and magnetic appearance, gothic Victoriana motifs and taste for beautiful dark velvet frock coats, is a conscious take on this trope and aesthetically the most straightforwardly Byronic of the lot... except for the fact that unlike the typical archetype he's also a funny Adorkable Manchild who eats lots of jelly babies. Possibly an in-character affectation?
    • The Fourth Doctor's Byronic traits are very heavily exploited in the angst-ridden Telos Novella Ghost Ship, a Gothic Literature Pastiche written from the Doctor's first-person point of view. Not only does he spend a lot of it having beautifully-described and romanticised brooding scenes (like standing at the prow of a ship in a rainstorm staring out at the horizon until the sunrise), struggling with his own regrettable actions from "The Deadly Assassin" and "Genesis of the Daleks", questioning the classism of British society, and experiencing The Dulcinea Effect, he also constantly namedrops writers of 19th Century literature and quotes poetry in times of stress or intense emotion, making it ever clearer that this was the character type he was intended to be commenting on. It's a fairly extreme Alternative Character Interpretation for a character most fondly remembered for smiling at people and offering them jelly babies, but justified as the Doctor admits that he is experiencing depression, and is well aware that his actions aren't how they'd usually be.
    • The Twelfth Doctor, coming off of a previous life in which he spent nine centuries defending one town from an endless parade of villains, is one of the broodiest, frostiest incarnations. He's constantly struggling with his darker inclinations, fears, and regrets, particularly regarding his Time War atrocities. His character arc in Series 8 is figuring out if he can be called a good man or a bad man, or an officer (who gives orders) or a soldier (who carries orders out) — neither of the latter options appeals to him. He finally realizes that he is "an idiot!" devoting his life to "passing through, helping out, learning" and this helps him solve a seemingly impossible crisis. In Series 9, his Chronic Hero Syndrome combined with his struggle to accept that he, as a near-immortal, will inevitably lose everyone he loves causes him a great deal of grief. When he loses his companion Clara Oswald (partially because she became too similar to him) in "Face the Raven", the combination of that and a heap of other miseries piled upon him triggers a Freak Out that puts him on a path of being driven by rage, anguish, and self-interest instead in the finale "Hell Bent" two episodes later; returning to his best self involves Mind Rape. After this, things finally improve when he fulfills his relationship with River Song, but after that stretch of his life ends he becomes really determined to move on by way of coping as Series 10 begins.
  • Harlan Judd (Tim Daly) of Eyes may or may not fit this perfectly. Though every episode of the show ended with the MacGuffin back in the hands of its rightful owner and somebody justly facing prison time or worse, Judd's interest is typically only in the former; he frequently admits that he doesn't really care if the kidnapper or thief get caught (unless they piss him off, which they almost invariably do). Daly described the character as "accidentally ethical".
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Tyrion Lannister is the lighter end of this trope. While he might not be physically attractive, he is quite charismatic, very passionate, driven, jaded, and emotionally unstable.
    • His brother Jaime Lannister also qualifies. The show treats Jaime more sympathetically than the early books, so he qualifies much earlier on, though is still the darker end of this trope. Killing the Mad King was the best thing he ever did, but doing so cost him his integrity and everyone hates Jaime for it. This has made him an outcast in Westeros society. He continues to be haunted by the Mad King's last words (the king came very close to torching all of King's Landing), and his true reasons for Kingslaying are a closely-guarded secret very few other people know. As a consequence, Jaime decided to embrace his amoral image by doing dark things in the name of self-preservation — such as pushing Bran off the tower and killing his cousin — although he is trying his best to reform. Jaime is also handsome, a prodigy with a sword, both proud and self-loathing, cynical, and has a very sharp wit. Oh, and he's had an incestuous affair with his own sister for several years.
    • Robert Baratheon is a deeply flawed hero. He is charismatic and jolly but also jaded and brooding.
  • Jess Mariano from Gilmore Girls. Jess is rebellious, irreverent, witty, and literary, and his troubled relationship with his parents leads him to act out. Jess manages to attract the main character (Rory) with his brooding, looks, and intellect.
  • Ryan Atwood from The O.C.. Ryan is a sullen, melancholic, intelligent, brooding outcast yet is sympathetic and compassionate to those less fortunate than him and manages to attract some female characters.
  • Heroes:
    • Adam. The show's token immortal, he helped save Japan from the feudal warlord Whitebeard four hundred years ago, founded the Company to make a better world for evolved humans, and, in the show's second season, plotted to give his people a second chance through the release of a supervirus. He's cultured, cunning, and a man of many vices.
    • Noah Bennet (HRG). Sure, he's devoted to finding people with abilities to keep them safe (at times, anyway), but he's also partially responsible for Sylar's murdering spree. He tends to operate in a morally grey fashion at times (particularly while working with The Company).
  • Kamen Rider Gaim has Kaito Kumon. He's charismatic to the point of almost seeming like a Magnetic Hero, and tends to speak in a very absolute manner about how the strong exercise their power against the weak, albeit not treating strength as just power alone and acknowledging peoples' strength relative to their abilities (his Establishing Character Moment is encouraging a boy to jump down from a tree he's stuck in, catching the boy when he does, and praising him for his strength, and he acknowledges Mai's emotional strength). This is because of his past, where his family were driven out of business by the Mega-Corp Yggdrasil, with his father sinking into alcoholism and eventually committing suicide. This understandably left Kaito very cynical about the world. In spite of his Social Darwinist speeches, he comes with the interesting twist that he considers himself weak and constantly seeks more power and his ultimate desire is to create a world where the strong no longer oppress the weak. The only reason he's the Final Boss is because he thinks he has to destroy the current world to do it.
  • Doctor Cal Lightman from Lie to Me is sometimes unusually morally driven to help others to the point of putting himself in danger, but usually is a cocky, often cruel bastard who thinks he is always right. He'll also put others in harm's way if need be, but the end result is usually for the better good. Also, don't date his daughter.
  • Shane McCutcheon of The L Word is a rare and well-done female version.
  • NCIS: Leroy Jethro Gibbs fits the trope perfectly, he'll go to any lengths and break any rules to get the job done.
  • Todd Manning of One Life to Live is kind of a Heel–Face Revolving Door version of this, sometimes a villain, other times a hero, but always Byronic.
  • The Originals: Elijah is tormented by his dark deeds and battles against his vampiric nature. He's also ridiculously good looking and a terribly dapper dresser. His brother Klaus is a Byronic understudy, but falls short because he's a bit Ax-Crazy.
  • As an Expy of Edmond Dantes, Emily Thorne from Revenge.
  • Dr. Percival "Perry" Ulysses Cox of Scrubs is a comedic example. He's a brilliant doctor with an extremely antisocial personality, a fervent hatred of his superiors, a succession of very self-destructive relationships, a drinking problem, and an abusive childhood.
  • The titular character of Sherlock embodies almost all the major features of this trope.
  • Skins: Definitely Cook from the second series; possibly Tony from the first. A rare female example could be argued for Frankie from the third series.
  • Commander Shran of Star Trek: Enterprise. In fact, ALL Andorians are walking Romanticism incarnate, praising emotion and the experience of passion, ritualizing the concept of a "duel" to settle differences, housing probably the greatest Art Academy in the United Federation of Planets, and thoroughly disagreeing with Vulcans (Realists and Rationalists).
  • Supernatural:
    • Sam and Dean Winchester practically embody this trope in the later seasons, as they get tortured emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally more and more throughout the show. Dean especially, given his constant self-loathing, death wish, and Dark and Troubled Past. Sam doesn't fare much better either, as the series started out with the death of his girlfriend, and his life has only gotten worse and worse from there.
    • And before them was their father, John Winchester, who became a vengeance-obsessed man after his wife Mary died, raising his children in to become Hunters and spending the rest of his life searching for the demon who killed his wife.
    • Even Castiel could qualify for this, as he is constantly trying to obey his father's orders to protect and love humanity, but gets put in conflict with his angel brothers and sisters as a result, who are either trying to destroy the world or fighting each other.
  • Taboo: James Delaney is a rather pronounced example. A brooding, morally ambiguous schemer with a dark past, he was born the son of an unpopular skinflint English trader and a Native American woman who supposedly passed her knowledge of magic on to him before she went mad. He used to serve the East India Company in Africa before falling out with them, and now uses his intellect to manipulate and undermine the societal powers in Regency England that he has so come to detest and sees him as a savage. He has very little regard for classical societal norms as well, between his activities in the London underworld, his rumored atrocities abroad such as cannibalism, and his pursuit of a sexual relationship with his own half-sister.
  • True Detective's Detective Rustin Cohle embodies many of the Byronic tropes: deep intelligence, a Dark and Troubled Past, an overall broody mood, a worldview deeply at odds with society, and a strong moral code despite his intense cynicism.
  • Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries, whilst being the primary antagonist in season 1, he is always been a representative of this trope.
  • The Wire, most obviously, Jimmy McNulty, who is immensely self-destructive and arrogant, though good-hearted. His fifth season story arc especially shows his Byronic side. Other characters, such as Omar, Michael Lee, Slim Charles, and Nicky Sobotka, have their Byronic qualities as well.
  • Fox Mulder of The X-Files: Brooding and comely FBI agent whose quest for the truth is just and right, although his means of trying to achieve that can be over-the-top and jackassery. Only very few people in the show's world seem to appreciate him.

  • Cradle of Filth gets a LOT of mileage out of this trope. Including having a song based on the life of Lord Byron, that features Ville Valo of HIM. In an interview, it was explained that Dani Filth considered Ville Valo to be the embodiment of the modern day Byronic man which is why they wanted to feature him in the song.
  • Iced Earth has a song about "Frankenstein":
    "A man of wealth and a genius mind / A slave to passion and his morbid side
    Robbing graves of the newly dead / Erratic tendencies, a troubled mind
    I will create in my own image / If God can then why can't I?
    No thought of the consequences / I've got to know the meaning of life."
  • Most popular songs by The Who seem to employ this trope in their narrator's POV. In addition to the above example, "My Generation", "Black Widow's Eyes", "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere", "A Legal Matter", "I Can See For Miles", and the main character Jimmy Cooper in Quadrophenia.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • While the Pogo Goof Jimmy Jacobs may not have seemed like it at first, learning he was a fanboy of The Barbarian, The Berserker and Kevin Sullivan was not a good sign. Jimmy has since shown jealous, spiteful and lustful tendencies as well seeming to suffer from hubris at times. He is not above self-criticism or attempting to improve himself though, such as when he started dating Lacey he wanted to make sure their relationship would not be based on lust.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, Leonardo De Montreal runs down each point on the checklist, to the point where his heroism is at least fifty percent based on how much better he is than anyone else. Between being raised in an abusive orphanage, long-term emotional isolation, literally and figuratively ripping his heart from his chest, and spending a year at the Bleak Academy (which is a metaphor for bleak enlightenment when it's not a metaphor for death). He avoids sleeping for long periods of time lest his nightmares drip out into the world, requires the Mechanism of Original Sin to have a facsimile of conscience, and is metaphysically incapable of having friends or equals. He gains extra XP for ranting at length about his superiority. On the other hand, he's also personally replaced the source of all light and hope in the universe.
    • Lord Entropy II similarly does the brooding loner with a complex history and extreme passions. Lord Entropy the First had something similar going on in Nobilis, with the noteworthy exception of romance: he was metaphysically impossible to love.
  • In Exalted, Abyssals and Infernals are the most likely characters to be in this category, though it can happen to the other types as well. Sulumor, the 2E signature Malefactor, was abandoned by her tribe and the Spirits of the Desert. After her prayers to the Unconquered Sun gave no result, she instead cursed him with such vehemence as to attract Cecelyne's interests. Now she plots revolution among those who betrayed and abandoned her, creating a new society in her path.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Jace Beleren has a lot of these traits, though he does start moving out of them after some Character Development, especially during the Ixalan Storyline. Dark and Troubled Past? He can't remember anything from before he was fifteen, and things since then have not gone well. He's a prodigy mind mage, but that just leads to him being Afraid of Their Own Strength due to how destructive mind magic can be if he screws it up. He's one of the most politically powerful individuals on Ravnica, but it's a position he never wanted and constantly worries about screwing up. Thankfully, the events on Ixalan gave him a much-needed confidence boost, and helped him finally make peace with his past, not least because he can remember all of it again.

  • Melchior Gabor of Spring Awakening: an intelligent, charming, enlightened youth who is ahead of his time and deeply troubled by his repressive society and his own developing urges as he comes of age.
  • Although most of William Shakespeare's characters are Tragic Heroes, a couple of his characters also qualify as Byronic heroes, such as Macbeth and Hamlet. Shakespeare's plays were written before Paradise Lost, and long before the days of Lord Byron.

    Video Games 
  • Booker DeWitt of Bioshock Infinite is not a nice man. Having served in the massacre of Wounded Knee at the age of 16 and refusing a baptism and that's not even getting into the stuff relating to his daughter, it would be healthy to say he's a cynical fellow. Later, Booker would find himself spiral into an abyss of gambling debts that piled up by the truckload and rampant alcoholism. He's given a chance to atone for all of the things he's done by retrieving a mysterious girl by the name of Elizabeth and as the game progresses, he's more than willing to tear Columbia a new one to rescue her.
  • Ragna The Bloodedge in BlazBlue. His down-to-earth nature, snarking, Surrounded by Idiots attitude ("Why do I always seem to attract the A to Z of mental illness?!") and surprising compassion for others obscures the fact that he has murdered hundreds of NOL personnel in pursuit of personal vengeance against one person (albeit one who most everybody would agree deserves it)
    • His brother Jin Kisaragi also counts, particularly after some character growth. He's a nihilist who had no real passion or drive for anything and was compelled to kill Ragna because his swordwarps his mind. After some therapy though he's as much of a nihilist as ever, but actually finds some motivation to do something about the state his world is in.
  • Gabriel Belmont from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow ticks pretty much all traits mentioned above. He's a fatalistic, ambivalent and revengeful individual who, nonetheless, is a decent, kindhearted and assiduous hero who strives to make the world a better place. At least he tried to be one before the death of his childhood sweetheart disillusioned him. He became obsessed with trying to bring her back, often dismissing the havoc he had wreaked or how much pain he had caused along the way. This culminates in him abandoning everything that made him human and becoming the thing he had sworn to destroy.
  • Magus, or Prince Janus of Zeal, from Chrono Trigger. He unites the demi-humans of Zenan so they can fight the humans of Guardia, resulting in the most violent recorded conflict in that world's history. Most people consider him an antichrist figure, and the victory of the humans is celebrated centuries after the conflict ended. But Magus' real reason for being the Fiendlord is that he needs the resource to build a portal that would forcefully summon that he can personally destroy the thing that had taken everything from him: his kingdom, his mother, his big sister. It just happens that destroying Lavos will also save the world.
  • Devil May Cry: Vergil qualifies as such. His sole motivation is to gain more power, but not to take over the world, but rather because he feels guilt over not being able to protect his loved ones. Vergil, unlike his twin brother (sans DMC2), is very aloof, calculated, and cold-hearted. He will do anything to gain the same power that his father Sparda once had, even if that means opening the demon world (read: "undo daddy's little spell") in order to retrieve Sparda's old sword. Handsome is already a given, and his romantic element (possibly) stems from having a one-night stand with a prostitute in Fortuna, and birthing his son Nero. The last part is heavily hinted in the Deadly Fortune novel of 4.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Anders in Dragon Age II. By Act III of the storyline, Anders has become bitterly opposed to anyone who opposes freedom of mages, and becomes a hypocrite if Fenris was enslaved again, as he approves of such actions, topping it all with the destruction of the Chantry and starting a war between mages and templars.
    • Merrill, an Adorkable female elf, is actually one of the best examples of this trope in the franchise. She's a brooding, self-critical scholar; she's haunted by the loss of a dear friend, which she blames herself for; her passionate beliefs about blood magic and stubborn drive to act on these beliefs make her an outcast in her clan and human society, even causing her to be exiled; her beliefs go against the societal norm basically everywhere in Thedas except maybe Tevinter. Unsurprisingly, her arc ends in total tragedy.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition the ruler of Orlais, Empress Celene Valmont I, is a rare female version. Celene wants to bring peace and prosperity to the world, but she's willing to make a mountain of corpses to see it happen. Her actions in pursuit of her goal are specifically what led to the Orlesian Civil War.
    • To some extent, the PC Inquisitor could be a Byronic Hero, too, with ample opportunity to play as a sarcastic jerk, and combine that with some of the more 'emotional' reaction choices, and you have your broody hero. Bonus points if they're an overly educated, persecuted Dalish elf.
    • Leliana has become this as well: who used to be a murderous bard who used seduction turned highly religious and pure, until her faith was shattered by her mentor's death (who herself counts as she was vicious in working for the good of Thedas). Physically and personally beautiful, to the Warden in the first game romantically aggressive, lives in the I Did What I Had to Do trope and hates herself for it, highly skilled, conflicted and critical of her actions, her offer to train you as a bard amounts to spelling out just why not to do it, strongly believes in doing what's right no matter how repulsive and is even compared to Coryphemus for how driven and determined she is.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Locke Cole in Final Fantasy VI. Though he's a Lovable Rogue at first blush, he's passionately anti-Empire, passionately pro-protecting any woman he meets, both owing to a personal tragedy that he still obsesses over. Oh, also Setzer, whose character quote describes him as not conforming to society's rules, and who's quite happy to gamble his own life away for a thrill because of his own personal tragedy. You could count Celes as a female example too, as a former Imperial general who's committed atrocities and has a hard time befriending the rest of the party. (For bonus points, Locke and Celes are the Official Couple.)
    • In Final Fantasy Tactics, Delita Hyral is this, as well as a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Interestingly, his significant loss occurs during the actual game, although in an extended flashback.
    • Seifer Almasy of Final Fantasy VIII takes this to a villainous extreme. Brooding, handsome and charismatic enough to initially woo Rinoa, he reveals the motivation for his jerkassery to be his intense passion to become a knight like his childhood hero.
  • Arvis from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. In a game full of Black and Gray Morality, he's one of the few NPCs who genuinely wants to do good but there are few lines that he won't cross in pursuit of his goals. It's not a surprise that, after he puts his plan into motion, Nothing Is the Same Anymore. Unfortunately for him, his ambitions, hidden insecurities, and willingness to do what he thinks he needs to do all make it possible for the Big Bad to manipulate him.
  • Niko Bellic, the Anti-Villain Protagonist of Grand Theft Auto IV; an intelligent, witty criminal mastermind who is involved with a life of crime because it's all he feels he's good at. He comes to Liberty City looking for a better life and to escape his past, which includes being chased by a Russian mobster who believes Niko owes him money. He's also looking for a man who got twelve of his childhood friends killed, hoping for revenge. Whether he remains this way depends on several situations in the game that force the player to choose between Niko's personal beliefs or money.
  • Michael (Grand Theft Auto V) is an even more accurate example: As Michael Townley, his temper issues in high school spoiled his chances in pro football, turning instead to a life of crime, which ended by faking his death and changing his surname to "De Santa". Almost a decade later, the ghosts he had been fighting for years reappear and sink him ever more...
    Dr. Friedlander: And where did these opportunities get you, Michael?
    Michael: They got me right... fucking here! The end of the road! With a big house and a useless kid and I'm stuck talking to you because no one else gives a shit. Oh I'm living the dream, baby, and that dream is fucked! It is... fucking fucked!
    • However, after choosing "Option C" at the end, his life gets better.
  • Sol Badguy from the Guilty Gear series is often boorish, slovenly, aloof, ill-mannered, far more intelligent and well-informed than his appearance would indicate, and is the perpetrator of one of the most awful crimes in that world: being the co-creator of the Gears. He might be a loose fit (perhaps more fitting as an Anti-Hero) due to his gruff concern for Dizzy, his (albeit rather violent) almost-brotherly relationship with Ky Kiske, and his deceptively high sense of self-sacrifice (in D&D parlance, he's very much Chaotic, but also mostly Good).
  • Dr. Catherine Halsey of the Halo universe is a ruthless, unapologetic woman who abducted young children in order to create an army of super soldiers (even if she privately has a lot of guilt about it). She's one of the most brilliant human minds alive, but that doesn't stop most people who meet her from loathing her to their very core. Nonetheless, she's undeniably fighting for the advancement of the human race and has been shown to deeply care for those she sees as her "children", whether it be her Spartan-IIs or her actual daughter Miranda Keyes.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has two examples: Magnus, the World's Strongest Man who lost a child in war, and Dark Pit, Pit's Shadow Archetype determined to prove that he's more than an Evil Knockoff. Both are very cynical, aware of the failings of the Gods, and relentless fighters.
  • Chloe from Life Is Strange. While she is the deuteragonist, she makes a lot of highly amoral decisions like stealing her step-fathers gun when she has no training whatsoever, or breaking and entering into the school, or stealing several thousand dollars from the school's fund that would have been used to make the dorms ADA compliant). She performed well as a student before being kicked out for her violent outbursts. She is so charismatic though that Max (whom one could argue Chole treats more like a tool than a friend) rarely calls her out on most of her bad behavior.
  • Garrus Vakarian in Mass Effect becomes one in the sequel, as he is haunted by the death of his hit squad on Omega. Garrus is a man who constantly seeks to punish the wicked and finds himself brooding a lot during the 2nd game. A Paragon Shepard can begin to pull him out of this, while a Renegade can push him further into it. However, by the time Mass Effect 3 rolls around, he seems to have mellowed down, though he is still broods quite a bit here and there.
  • The titular Max Payne is a cynical, moody and self destructive man, constantly haunted by the death of his loved ones, whether it'd be his wife and baby daughter or his friends. He even finds himself in exile from New York in the third game, on the run from mobsters after shooting the son of a very powerful crime boss. Max was even physically attractive back in the day, but his indulgence in drugs and alcohol has since diminished what looks he had.
  • Solid Snake in the Metal Gear series. He is not opposed to commit countless murders in order to achieve his goalsnote  — primarily concerned with his own interests rather than the greater good, even though he has inherent good in him, and does commit himself to achieving the greater good. Less so early on, when Snake was just a soldier following orders. It's not until Metal Gear Solid 2 that he starts operating on his own agenda. Which in the original series ending, saw him executed as a terrorist.
    • As the series went on Big Boss became a much better example. His actions are reprehensible, but committed to achieve a vision of the world that he sincerely believes fits the ideals of his mentor, the Boss. The same could be said for everyone else who inherited the Philosopher's Legacy, which includes most of the series villains. Notably everyone on the list misinterpreted or corrupted the ideal they were fighting for, leading to a Crapsack World by the end of the series timeline. Most of them lived long enough to understand how badly they'd screwed up.
  • Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes seems to fit this trope quite nicely, being a heroic sociopath with more character flaws than an average politician. In the sequel, he steadily develops into a more and more sympathetic character, since he is becoming increasingly uneasy with the assassination game. In the end, he even vows to bring down the UAA permanently for all the lives they have destroyed and ruined.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Shadow the Hedgehog. Motivated by great tragedy in his past, brooding and arrogant, and willing to do almost anything to achieve his goals, even if it puts him at conflict with the other heroes. He nonetheless is a powerful ally of Sonic's when the world is threatened.
    • Sonic's other rival, Knuckles the Echidna, especially during the Sonic Adventure era. A social outcast as a result of his responsibilities forcing him to live in an uninhabited Floating Continent, he acts stoic and antisocial, but deeply inside resents his loneliness and envies Sonic's freedom. Nevertheless, he's completely devoted to his duty of guarding the Master Emerald and always puts it above everything else, which occasionally leads to him clashing with Sonic and making things harder for him.
  • Atton Rand from Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords - a cocky outcast and smooth talker found on a backwater planet in the middle of nowhere by The Exile, his foolishness is a facade for deceptive cunning, and his background is shrouded in mystery. Turns out, he was a force-sensitive Sith Assassin under Revan's command who killed and tortured Jedi. And don't read his thoughts; provided you can get through the Psychic Static.
  • Nagito Komaeda in Super Danganronpa 2 is one of the best investigators in the franchise while also being one of the best manipulators (ostracizing him from the group early on). But his existence has been marred by a maddeningly turbulent sense of luck which has given and taken enough from him that by the start of the game he's seeking meaning in his life by whatever sort of hope he can leave behind, at absolutely any cost (with his final free-time event revealing that he doesn't have long to live and therefore has nothing to lose). Even if that turbulence informs a shaky definition of "hope."
    • In Absolute Despair Girls, Monoca probably best sums him up as "fighting for hope despite falling into despair." On another note, the game also distinguishes him as handsome enough that he'd be able to fit The Genocider's MO of only killing handsome men.
  • Yuri Lowell form Tales of Vesperia. A nicer guy than some of the examples on this page, but also a cynical, sarcastic Vigilante Man, and a clear departure from the Idiot Hero common in Tales games.
  • Before Yuri Lowell, the Tales Series had one in the form of Tales Of Destiny's Leon Magnus. It's probably not a coincidence they are the series' most popular characters.
  • And then there's Tales of Berseria's protagonist, Velvet Crowe, who Used to Be a Sweet Kid and a Cool Big Sis to her little brother, before being betrayed by her brother-in-law Artorius, who murdered said little brother and cut off her arm. Fast-forward three years, and Velvet has become a vengeance-driven badass with a demonic arm that consumes any being she kills with it, who primarily seeks to kill Artorius for what he's done to the both of them.
  • Wylfred from Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is essentially a petty, grudge-seeking man who blames the death of his sister and his mother's insanity on the fact that his dad was taken by the Valkyrie. He then goes on a plot to kill the Valkyrie.
  • Kenny from The Walking Dead can be described as this. Though The Leader at first, he gradually falls further and further from the top spot as he goes through a Trauma Conga Line. Most notably, Kenny is single-minded in protecting his family by getting to the coast and finding a boat to find a safe place. As the game goes on, and his family members die, he grows more and more cynical. He reaches his absolute lowest when the group makes it to the coast, only to find there are no boats left. Kenny ends up hitting the sauce in episode 4, before becoming a full-on Death Seeker in episode 5 that culminates in a Heroic Sacrifice to save either Ben or Christa. Notably, Kenny can also have Undying Loyalty towards Lee, but only if you side with him 100% of the time.
    • In Season 2, Kenny returns and tries to be a substitute for Lee to Clementine. Unfortunately, the death of his second love makes him even more unstable as well as his obsession with protecting the children of the group causes him to alienate everyone from him, ultimately reaching a climax in the end, where he tries to kill Jane when he thinks that she let Rebecca's baby die.
  • The Witcher 2 portrays the elven partisan Iorveth this way. In his heart, he dreams of building a world where the races of the Continent coexist in peace, but he’s become embittered by years of struggle to the point of near-nihilism. He’s highly intelligent, a fact he flaunts by delivering long, lyrical speeches in situations where a simple “fuck you” would suffice for most people. He’s also extremely handsome, with his looks marred only by the fact that the right side of his face is a mess of scar tissue swimming around an empty eye socket. Unlike Geralt, who is taciturn, aloof, and socially reserved, Iorveth is charismatic to the point that his elves hero-worship him.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Illidan Stormrage is cunning and ruthless, yet in conflict between his heroic tendencies (regarding his actions in the "Well of Eternity"- Raid in Cataclysm and the books) and his craving for power. Rejected by the woman he loved, outcast by the people he wanted to save (unfortunately, post-apocalyptic nightelves had no need for his "present"). Plus his very intense speech in Warcraft 3: "In truth it was I, who was betrayed! (Dramatic lightning)". Additionally, Illidan had a highly charismatic, magically-gifted and intelligent personality, allowing him to rise quickly into the ranks of the Highborne before the Sundering and to become the Ruler of Outland after the Third War. His quotes in the Warcraft 3 strategy-games expressed his tendency to cynism and arrogance- reasons for his downfall in "The Burning Crusade". Moreover, Illidan was one of the few persons who switched allies rapidly (he was ally and enemy of the burning legion several times), thus making him an Anti-Hero or Trickster.
    • Garrosh Hellscream is increasingly leaning towards this. He retains a strong warrior code of honor, but it's much harsher than the one the Horde was founded on. He is ruthless to his enemies, prone to lashing out as a demonstration of his superiority, and is openly racist towards members of the Horde he views as not contributing enough.
  • William "B.J." Blazkowicz from the Wolfenstein franchise developed shades of this trope in The New Order. Though charismatic, handsome and eloquent in his monologues, he's clearly damaged goods by all of the suffer he's endured over the war, whether it'd be all of the horrors committed by the Nazis or the deaths of those under his command. He even fears that once his fight with the Nazis will be over, that he may never be fit to live a normal life ever.

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck
    • Vriska Serket from Homestuck is a rare female example. It's clear she's playing for the good team, but her past is filled with a lot of questionable things, and her tendency to make tough calls nobody else is willing to make is best represented through her iconic monologue.
      "I only ever wanted to do the right thing no matter how it made people judge me, and I don't need a magic ring to do that. You don't have to 8e alive to make yourself relevant. And you don't have to 8e a good person to 8e a hero. You just have to know who you are and stay true to that. So I'm going to keep fighting for people the only way I ever knew how. 8y 8eing me."
    • Eridan Ampora fits the mold quite well. Reality Ensues and he accidentally alienates his friends.
    • Dirk Strider in both the alpha and beta timelines is a good representation of this, with Bro being the textbook example of what happens when this sort of personality is given complete control of another person without any sort of accountability. Meanwhile, his alpha incarnation shows his internal conflict through his interactions with Lil Hal.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Vaarsuvius is an arrogant, condescending Elf Wizard with a taste for ultimate arcane knowledge and power, and is very long-winded and verbose in speech. Despite this, V is dedicated to stopping the forces of evil, does care quite a bit for their teammates, not above indulging a bit of silliness, and even has a family. Another unique example is that rather than a Dark and Troubled Past, they have a Dark and Troubled Present. We have making a deal with some fiends to gain ultimate arcane power to save their family from a vengeful black dragon (whose son V killed during an earlier story arc) and the fallout over their priorities would lead to their partner suing for divorce and full custody of the children. V then proceeds in committing one of the greatest evil acts in recent history by casting Familicide, an epic level spell that kills the dragon and all its family, comprising over 1/4 of the black dragon population... and the Draketooth line of humans, a family that reproduces by seducing strangers and stealing the children, and due to the nature of Familicide, V not only kills the family of the target, but the family of the families... resulting in literally thousands dead with a single word. Vaarsuivius then went on to battle Xykon but lost due to hubris, managing to narrowly avoid death at his skeletal hands. The reason why Vaarsuvius accepted the deal with the fiends in the first place? Because the alternative would mean asking his comrades and his master for help, which would mean admitting in failing again (V's attitude has taken a sharp turn due to guilt over their failure in Azure City and Haley, their closest friend, being trapped there). Ultimately, while V is improving on attitude and humility, they still carry a great burden over their decision, as one strip cuts to V looking forlornly at a picture of Inkyrius, clearly missing their former mate.
    • On Team Evil, we have Redcloak, who is leading a Rage Against the Heavens plot to bring equality to the Goblin people on behalf of their god, as well as being an Übermensch who follows his own moral code, and is highly intelligent and witty. He also has a Dark and Troubled Past: His whole town was killed by Azure City paladins and he was forced to raise his baby brother on his own. He would then learn about the goblin people's fate of being cannon fodder for other races upon taking the Crimson Mantle and thus would try and fulfill his god's wishes to overturn this. Eventually, he has to kill his younger brother (by this point, middle to old age for goblins, so in 50s) to prevent him from killing Xykon. Xykon then crushes Redcloak's spirit on how Redcloak is dependent on him to justify all the sacrifices and atrocities committed so he does not have to feel the weight. While Redcloak has improved a bit, he still has not come to the same sort of conclusion as V has and that his motivations also come from the fact he hasn't changed from the angsty teenager he was when he first put on the Crimson Mantle (literally, since the Mantle provides quasi-immortality through prevention of aging.)
  • Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance, while normally just a Sociopathic Hero, becomes increasingly Byronic during "Holiday Wars" and "Oceans Unmoving". The only part of the Byronic template that he doesn't fit is the brooding part. If Bun-Bun ever gets in a brooding mood, he just beats someone up instead.
  • In Templars of the Shifting Verse Augustus is a man wrapped up in his own thoughts and loneliness, he is reckless and uncaring about how his actions might not be the best course.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Critic is an impulsive cynic who has a Trauma Conga Line backstory. He wants to be good, but his self-hate and temper keep getting in the way.
  • Agent Washington in Red vs. Blue. Cynical, bitter, charismatic, tragic backstory, and relentlessly dedicated to getting retribution for the terrible things that have happened to him.
  • RWBY: Raven is one of the most conflicted characters in the series, straddling the line between Anti-Hero and Anti-Villain; she stubbornly tries to escape from the Secret War between Salem and Ozpin after being worn down prior to the story by the Awful Truth that lies behind the war, but it always finds its way back to her. While powerful and charismatic enough to lead a bandit tribe, she's repeatedly called out on her cowardice and hypocrisy, something she never gets to properly defend even though she claims she's been through so much more than anyone has a right to. This creates conflicts with her family and their allies in Volumes 4 and 5. When she attempts to grab the Relic of Knowledge by the end of Volume 5, it comes at a great cost, and her daughter Yang, whom she abandoned at birth for mysterious reasons, chews her out on it, noting that it would go against everything Raven stood for up until now. For this, Raven breaks down and flees out of regret, leaving Yang to take her place as the one who takes the Relic to become Salem's next target.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Brigand is a classic Byronic hero, complete with a tragic backstory that he attempts to avenge, despite the way this distances him from society's laws. However, in a superhero world, this makes you a supervillain.
  • Taylor/Skitter in Worm. She possesses all of the Byronic traits except for charisma, but it can be said that she develops this in (intense) spades later.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko has several traits of a Byronic hero: conflicting emotions? Check. Poor integrity? Check. The status of exile? Big ol' Check. It's, like, his thing. A troubled past? Very much so. Pride? Big problem he has to deal with. He's also a loner, "prone to Melodrama", and as for intelligence... well, Aang says that he's smarter than people give him credit for.
    • Jet is a good example of this as well. Having lost his home and family to a Fire Nation raid, he becomes an accomplished freedom fighter determined to stop the Fire Nation at any cost.
  • The title character of BoJack Horseman is a deconstruction of this. He's self-centered, introspective, troubled, reflexive, impulsive with a Dark and Troubled Past, Troubled, but Cute status and Reclusive Artist shades. But instead of coming off as charming, mysterious and tragic, his demeanor gives the impression of him being arrogant, vain, pathetic and abrasive with no one being interested in digging deeper, and when they do, his issues prove to be too much to handle.
  • In The Boondocks, Huey Freeman is defined by his cynicism and intelligence, being aware of an apparent "white supremacist power structure" and having several accounts of radical activism and domestic terrorism under his belt in his efforts to tear it down. His Byronic nature was more pronounced and played for laughs in the comic strip, where his pessimism often frustrated the few people who could be considered his friends. He's more well-rounded in the animated series since this version of Huey is a Composite Character of him and his best friend of the comics, who serves as his straight man.
  • The concept was also alluded to in Danny Phantom: When Danny is trying to hide the fact that he's fighting a ghost, an editor for a woman genius magazine makes this observation:
    "Messy, reclusive? Those are the signs of a true genius! If only he was a woman..."
  • Family Guy:
    • Stewie comes off as a parody of this type, being an antisocial Gadgeteer Genius Enfant Terrible determined to Take Over the World. The parody aspect comes from him being a baby whom few see for who he truly is — and the ones who do aren't taking him seriously.
    • Brian has grown into a straighter example, even though he's a dog. Highly intelligent and troubled, he struggles with the possibility of having done nothing meaningful in his life, but he's hindered by his ego when he puts a great deal of effort and seems to suffer from an inferiority complex as a result of being... well, a talking dog (which may explain the ego bit.) He and Stewie come to be Foils for each other, ultimately having the closest and most closely-examined interpersonal relationship in the series. Stewie often is the one who keeps Brian in check yet also views Brian as his confidant and when Brian journeyed to Stewie's head to stop a monster in his nightmares, it turns out that Stewie is busting Brian's chops because he holds Brian in such high regard.
  • Hey Arnold! has Helga G. Pataki. "Helga on the Couch" shows just how a combination of Parental Neglect and peer pressure made her into the tough-as-nails Loving Bully she is today, compelled to antagonize the very person she pines for. She's also far more astute than even she knows, and her talents and inner turmoil have inspired some incredible poetry.
  • The Brain from Pinky and the Brain is equal parts genius and insane, forever trying to Take Over the World yet always foiled by his own oversights.
  • Regular Show:
    • Skips has some traits from this, most notably in his backstory (appropriately set in the early 19th century, when Skips was known as "Walks"). He came to meet his "immortal circle" after his behavior got him expelled from his previous school. His only romantic relationship occurred here, and ended tragically.
    • Mordecai to an extent. While he acts like The Slacker most of the time, he also wants to prove his worth in the world and will do anything to prove he's not a waste of life. He's also a true artist has an appreciation for the obscure stuff, initially very nervous when talking to Margaret and uncomfortable during group photos (barring when he's not in the middle of having fun or such). He also has a very conflicted romantic life; he can't seem to decide between his two Love Interests, and when he's heartbroken, he falls into heavy lapses of Angst. Despite this, he still tries to do the right thing and in the series finale, manages to Earn Your Happy Ending with the rest of the group, he doesn't end up with either of the two mentioned ladies, but settles down with a fellow artist who is a bat woman.
  • Rick from Rick and Morty. There are minor hints here and there that Rick has a pretty troubled past. He is also moody, cynical, and very passionate about his science. However, while his scientific habits may not be self-destructive as much as they are outwardly destructive, his drug habits most certainly are, and he occasionally shows cracks in his narcissism that betray a strong self-loathing. He's also caused similar damage to his family, namely his daughter Beth and his grandson/traveling companion Morty. In fact, Morty himself may be slowly becoming one.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Bart Simpson is a cynical rebel who has far more potential than he's given credit for, but with his teachers and parents showing him little-to-no faith or support when he was little, he decided to take pride in his status as an underachieving bad boy. However, there are moments when his mask slips and he becomes very angst-ridden over his own failings.
    • His sister Lisa is the poster girl for Intelligence Equals Isolation and often opposes the moronic people of Springfield over her beliefs and causes. She's implied to suffer from depression, and her struggles with pride show whenever something provides competition over her intelligence and talents.
  • South Park: Stan Marsh has endured a lot of anguish from the idiotic citizens of South Park (let alone his father), to the point that his growing cynicism and depression was the subject of a particularly heavy two-parter. He is incredibly impassioned when he takes up a cause, and as close to Tall, Dark, and Handsome as the art-style will allow him and still being the everyman.
  • In Steven Universe, the Crystal Gems (barring Steven, since he wasn't born then) are varying degrees of Byronic, having fought a war in rebellion against the totalitarian Homeworld, and while they cherish and defend the Earth, they also remain aloof to its people. Pearl is brainy and skilled yet also has the most easily wounded pride, and is still struggling to move past the death of Rose Quartz and the fact that Pearls are a Slave Race in Gem hierarchy. Amethyst is the most uncouth and rebellious, due to the circumstances of her creation making her feel as though doesn't truly belong anywhere. Garnet seems to be the least troubled, as she has to be strong and in control to bear The Chains of Commanding, and it took her a while to come out of her stoic shell. Despite this, all three are becoming much less Byronic. Garnet has become more open and comfortable, Amethyst is happy with herself and Pearl is slowly moving on while also becoming closer friends with Greg, the man Rose chose over her and Steven's dad.
    • Steven himself struggles with this in Season 1's "Full Disclosure", where Jasper is defeated and Beach City is saved, and after having a chat with Ronaldo, Steven erroneously thinks it would be for the best to withdraw from Connie, which causes her to worry intensely about Steven and she challenges him to tell her about the break-up in person instead of indirectly communicating through cell phone texts; Steven ultimately relents when he sees that Connie could have ended up sad and friendless, and ultimately decides to still be friends with her.
    • We can now add Lapis and Peridot to this. While neither are official members, they both have some damage. Peridot started out as a prideful and surly being while having hidden a complex for being a second generation Peridot and thus inferior to her predecessors and reliant on gadgets. She ends up stuck on Earth, knowing of the doomsday trap for it (though that is no longer an issue.) As of now, she is discovering her own powers and viewing Earth as her home. Lapis meanwhile endured more hardship and trapped in a cracked state for centuries. She doesn't have much loyalty to anyone except Steven and she endured being fused with Jasper to use her as a punching bag (in a not-too-subtle allegory for toxic relationships.) While she has brightened up a bit and befriended Peridot, she is the most prone to being moody and sullen and it's clear that she doesn't wanna fight anymore.
    • Jasper can be seen as a Byronic Villainess, a skilled and powerful Homeworld soldier with a firmly ingrained belief that the purpose of all Gems is to serve the Diamond Authority. The Byronic aspect becomes apparent with The Reveal that Rose killed her leader, Pink Diamond, leaving her emotionally hollow, self-loathing, and determined to seek revenge.
    • Rose Quartz herself can be seen as this with The Reveal that she was Pink Diamond and faked her own death.. Her rebellion was started, in part, because Pink preferred slumming it with lower-class gems, and the death of Pink at the hands of Rose was very much a selfish move on Pink's part since she thought it would be more exciting to live the role of Rose permanently and was blind to the repercussions of her choice to do what she did.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: Lance fits this almost to the point of parody. He's Tall, Dark, and Handsome, an aloof Chick Magnet has a Dark and Troubled Past, and is a near godsend on the battlefield.
  • Dr. Rusty Venture of The Venture Bros. is a bitter, miserable, savvy Deadpan Snarker super-genius with an incredibly traumatic childhood as a former boy adventurer.
  • Superboy in his Young Justice incarnation. he suffers from Cloning Blues and an increased temper as a result of being the clone of Superman and Lex Luthor. His initial aloof relationship with Superman doesn't help, but he gets a lot better over time as seen in Season 2.
    • In season 2, it seems he passed the torch to Miss Martian. Once the bubbly moral center, she has become much more pragmatic in her psychic power usage and it led to her's and Superboy's breakup. She is crushed by guilt when she attacks Aqualad only to discover he is a Reverse Mole and she realizes what she's become.

    Real Life 
  • Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. A sensitive, deeply troubled man who struggled with illness, addiction, and depression.
  • Kanye West. The best example of a Byronic rapper. Arrogant, rebellious, charismatic, moody, outspoken, and deeply troubled. Also one of the unquestioned all-time geniuses of hip-hop, making engrossing, innovative, and meaningful work both as an rapper/lyricist and as a producer (remember, before he released a single album on his own, he was part of the team that produced The Blueprint). He's constantly saying things that land him in trouble. The best example would be the VMA incident with Taylor Swift. The loss of his mother and multiple other tragic events in his personal life put him on a downward spiral leading up to that incident and in the aftermath, he disappeared from the public eye only to come back a year later with the triumphant album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, where lyrically he is equally both arrogant and self-critical. In almost every interview he has given in the past few years he has challenged social norms and the way society forces people to have low self-esteem.
  • deadmau5 is one for Electronic Dance Music. While he's one of the most iconic artists in the scene, he's also gained a reputation for his arrogant and sour attitude. He tends to speak his mind, which often ends up getting him into beefs on Twitter. He also described himself as a "friendly dickhead" on a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread.
  • Janis Joplin. A hard-drinking, hard living, self-destructive woman with a voice that could melt your heart.
  • Jim Morrison, the iconic, leather-clad poet and baritone singer whose short life was riddled with controversy, and whose self-destructive lifestyle lead to his death at a young age.
  • Ozzy Osbourne, another singer with a controversial lifestyle troubling him personally, but nevertheless shows genuine awareness to the rotten world through his voice.
  • John Lennon, another rock star with a controversial lifestyle. He distinguished himself as the "smart-ass Beatle," stirred up quite a shit-storm with his political activism (most especially his rallying up young people in their opposition to The Vietnam War), apparently had a rocky relationship with his second wife, had a heroin addiction for a number of years, made no attempt to hide his propensity for mean-spirited put-downs, and expressed his cynical worldview through his lyrics both during and after his years as a Beatle. He was also violent and abusive in his younger days, the memories of which tormented him later in life: "I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster."
  • Ludwig van Beethoven, the big 'B' himself... where to begin? Not only was he a direct contemporary of Lord Byron himself, but he was also a quintessential Byronic hero, with such defining traits as:
    • Being an emotional wreck and no less than contemplating suicide over losing his hearing (which was apparently incited by the explosive bombing of Vienna by Napoleon Bonaparte). He nevertheless wrote an entire symphony in honor of Le Petit Caporal in 1804, believing him to be the great revolutionary liberator of Europe...then tore that symphony's dedication to shreds upon learning that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor (screaming "So... he is a tyrant like all the rest!") and re-titled that symphony from "Bounaparte" to the "Heroic Symphony composed to celebrate the memory of a great man." He commented that he "wrote the music for this sad event seventeen years ago," upon learning of Napoleon's death in 1821 (with shades of John Lennon's "Elvis died when he entered the army" comment).
    • He believed fervently in the ideals of the Enlightenment and in the equality of Human Beings (to the point where his Ninth Symphony is a literal Ode to the concept in which "All men become brothers"). And he wept upon being turned around at the conclusion of said Ninth Symphony's premiere, being neither able to hear the music itself nor the audience's thunderous applause.
    • He refused to defer to authority or aristocracy, citing, "There have been a thousand Princes, but there is only one Beethoven." He walked right through a Duke and his entourage, who greeted him casually, while his contemporary literary companion/idol Goethe stepped aside and deferred to them with his hat off. Beethoven afterward rebuked the man—for whom he only had “the greatest veneration and an inexpressibly deep feeling for your glorious creations,” having set 18 of his texts to music (with two more to follow), and who made him so happy that he "would have gone ten times to death for this great man"—by saying, "I waited for you, respect you and admire your work... but you show these people too much esteem."
    • He refused to perform if requested casually (such as at soirees and such) AND stopped his performances dead if people didn't pay attention (diva much?). Ultimately, he got an Archduke to decree that the "Usual Rules of Court Etiquette" did not apply to him.
    • He also wore his hair as wild as any member of The Rolling Stones ever did.
  • Michael Jackson. Jackson had a drive to be the world's top entertainer like nobody had before him. In 1982, he released the biggest album of all time — Thriller — and wanted his next two albums— Bad and Dangerous — to top it, but neither of them did. In his prime, Jackson was a lithe, handsome young black man with an amazing voice, even more amazing dance moves, and a dependable hitmaker, penning several #1 hits. Jackson had an almost obsessive desire to help children—a possible result of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father—and often donated to charities and opened his ranch/amusement park to inner city kids who couldn't afford Disneyland. However, Jackson's controversial choreography (he often grabbed his crotch), love of juvenilia, penchant for publicity stunts, and addiction to painkillers and plastic surgery, caused many to see him as yet another music industry weirdo, and this dichotomy came to a head when Jackson was accused of molesting a young boy in 1993. From that point forward, he appeared to suffer from severe depression, his lyrics became angrier, and he was increasingly viewed as irrelevant. On the eve of a comeback/farewell tour, he was found dead in his home of an overdose of a drug typically used as a sleeping agent in hospitals.
    • Whether or not Jackson molested children is a matter of dispute, however not only do many people believe it to this day, but it likely put a bad taste in some peoples' mouths whether or not they felt it was true. If the allegations were true, it trumps all other "Byronic" aspects of other pop/rock/r&b stars, but if it is false, it would certainly qualify as a tragic downfall of someone who was passionate about helping children, but mired in a lifestyle others saw as suspicious.
    • Jackson's obsession with youth may not have belied his cynicism but was reputed to be very paranoid about his safety, and his Signature Song "Billie Jean" betrayed his cynicism about groupies, by telling a tale about a young woman who claimed that Jackson fathered her son. In his 1995 album ''HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I" many of the songs display a cynicism about the media.


  • Lord Byron himself. He was surrounded by scandal in his own lifetime — womanizing, possibly man-ising as well, and rumors of incest with his half-sister to boot.
  • Lord Byron was also something of an admirer of the deposed Napoleon Bonaparte, considering him to be the epitome of a Romantic heronote  — a persecuted, flawed, and ultimately lonely genius.
  • A whole lot of Russian writers were Byron fanboys, and gravitated towards this to some extent or another, both in real life and in writing. Griboyedov, Lermontov, and some others come to mind, as well as simple socialites such as Tolstoy-Amerikanets.
  • Branwell Brontë, the brother of the Brontë sisters. An intelligent, passionate young man, he had high aspirations of becoming a famous poet before his life took a downward spiral into alcoholism and drug use, resulting in his early death. It is believed that he inspired several of the violent, brooding characters in his sisters' novels.
  • Vincent van Gogh. Being born exactly one year after the death of his 6-months old brother and having been given his name, Vincent was constantly reminded of his status as the "second Vincent" by his family's insistence on going to see the first Vincent's grave every Sunday. This led to him developing a very acute sense of alienation and solitude throughout his life. Intensely self-critical and leading an incredibly precarious life, Vincent Van Gogh was made even more Byronic by his extraordinary artistic genius, undying love of humanity and absolute unwillingness to compromise in his art to make money. Suffering from loneliness and mental illness, his gruesome suicide cements his status as one of art's great Byronic painters.
  • Christopher Hitchens. A brilliant, caustic, blunt, and uncompromising author, Hitchens was most well-known for his attacks on organized religion. However, this is far from the only controversy surrounding his political career: he started out as a socialist but broke away from the movement in the 1990s, and even then he described himself as a Marxist until the day he died. He defied liberal expectations again by supporting the Iraq War and (reluctantly) supporting incumbent President Bush, *then* wholeheartedly supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election. And he once said that men are generally funnier than women. An alcoholic and a chain smoker, he died in 2011 due to esophageal cancer.
  • The Marquis de Sade. A controversial libertine whose works and philosophy landed him in asylums and prisons for much of his adult life. His works, which explored the dark side of the human experience like no other before him, often featured and provided sophisticated philosophical arguments for, among other things, murder, rape, incest, parricide, homosexuality, sodomy, abortion, promiscuity, blasphemy (at a time when these were considered taboo), and a number of sexual acts involving extreme degradation and sadistic behavior. Called pornographic, blasphemous, and perverted, his writings were censored and banned for more than a century after his death. Living a life of constant scandal, Sade was rebellious, hot-tempered, manipulative, and in letters to his wife, often expressed his contempt for what he saw as a society of simpletons. Brilliant, irreverent, and once called "the freest spirit who ever lived," the "Divine Marquis" was the eternal outsider. Notably, he was opposed to the use of capital punishment during the Terror.
  • Hideaki Anno. Among the most influential but at the same time controversial figures in the anime industry, Anno has struggled through multiple episodes of depression, most notably the one in the early 90s, and has had a heavy disdain for the existing status quo of the anime industry at large. His life's work Neon Genesis Evangelion sums him up very accurately.
  • Mari Okada. Among the most prolific anime writers in recent years on par with Jun Maeda but also one of the most polarizing. She grew up in a rural town with a single mother (her father cheated on her and ran away) and spent most her early life shut in the house, unable to deal with the pressures of the outside world. Okada's delinquent behavior reached a breaking point during her middle school years when her mother tried to murder her for her conduct but was restrained, driven to tears afterward. At school, Okada was mercilessly bullied, causing her to frequently skip school and confine herself to her house, unable to deal with her anxiety disorder. Her two most notable works The Anthem of the Heart and Anohana sum her up perfectly.
  • Richard Nixon. Intelligent and charismatic? Check. Cynical? Check. Brooding? Check. Passionate? Check. Intense drive that led to a tragic end? Check. As a complex, deeply flawed, and ultimately lonely man, he fits the role well. Well, except for the physically attractive part.
  • Robert Downey Jr.. A deeply talented, clever, and charismatic man forced into the spotlight from a very young age who struggled with the incessant attention and later, his own drug issues. For many years, his career seemed to be in an irreversible downward spiral due to his frequent arrests and inability to stay sober. Unlike most of the other Real Life examples, Downey Jr. eventually overcame his self-destructive behavior and has since found his way back onto the path of mainstream success, beginning with his portrayal of Tony Stark (an above-listed Byronic hero).
  • John Kricfalusi. By far one of the, if not the most controversial cartoonists of this generation, John K. is undoubtedly a talented artist, yet possessing very narrow ideas and beliefs on what makes a good cartoon, as shown by the disdain for other well-liked cartoons he expressed on his blog. His high standards led to the Troubled Production of The Ren & Stimpy Show; he was very hard to work with, constantly missed deadlines, and was rarely satisfied with the finished product. Despite how groundbreaking and beloved Ren & Stimpy is, John K. has little success getting work nowadays due to his infamously difficult reputation.
  • Florence Nightingale. Intelligent, passionate, and moody.
  • John Rozanski, better known as The Mysterious Mr. Enter. He has Asperger's Syndrome and a Dark and Troubled Past involving Abusive Parents and an apathetic, narrow-minded school system. He struggles with his own passion, admitting to having difficulties taking criticism and pursuing Fleeting Passionate Hobbies, is surprisingly erudite and insightful, and has made his disdain for society's double standards and biases very clear at several points.
  • Martin Luther. He described himself as "stormy and turbulent", was very cynical (especially when it came to organized religion), rebelled against the Catholic Church, and had enough intelligence and charisma to pull it all off.
  • George S. Patton (AKA "Old Blood and Guts"), Warrior Poet and general in the U.S. Army during WWII, could be considered a Byronic hero: flamboyant, rebellious, courageous, intelligent, charismatic if controversial, and with Blood Knight tendencies which he acknowledged. Patton cursed like nobody's business and had little tolerance for soldiers complaining of "battle fatigue," evidenced by his slapping at least two soldiers suffering from PTSD in front of doctors. He liked to lead from the front lines, was a staunch fatalist and believed he was a warrior in several past lives. He was also terrified of dying and being forgotten by history and survived the war only to die just afterward, in an auto accident at the age of 60.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche could be considered one. An idiosyncratic philosopher out of step with the times, he committed himself to write about art, ethics, culture, and politics in an era he came to regard as superficial, self-satisfied, and slowly losing its foundations as religion was losing its sway in society. Despite going insane in his final years, and with only a small circle of friends who held interest in his work at the time, Nietzsche's ideas and philosophy, while hotly debated in terms of accuracy and merit even now, nevertheless has influenced modern society to a significant extent.
  • Maximilien Robespierre. Almost monomaniacally dedicated to the People’s sovereignty and the defense of the Nation. Sensitive to the point that, before the Revolution, he physically became ill for a week when while serving as a judge, he had to condemn a man to death, and in the early days of the Revolution tried to abolish the death penalty entirely; he would later send even his best friends to the guillotine because he thought it was the right thing to do for France. Nicknamed “the Incorruptible” by his enemies, and not in any kind of ironic fashion. Possibly asexual but more likely suffering from something akin to love-shyness, he was one of the few Revolutionary figures not to be slandered as some kind of sexual deviant, because no one would believe it. He kept with him at all times the works of proto-Romantic Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
  • Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, Robespierre's best friend and fellow member of the Committee of Public Safety was considered during his life by his peers to be an exceptionally talented and prodigious person, who also had a ruthless streak. He was the youngest member of the National Convention and absolutely unknown until 1792, and would die in 1794, and yet in a career less than two years, he had a reputation for being one of the best orators of the Revolution, an incredibly intelligent administrator and organizer, co-authored the Constitution of 1793, and served as The Political Officer for the Army of the Rhine bringing them Back from the Brink, and would also fight alongside his troops in battle and acquit himself well. He was also ruthless known for executing aristocratic generals because of actual and perceived failure, giving speeches denouncing the Girondins, the Hebertists and Dantonists to the guillotine, with his colleague Bertrand Barere noting that, "He had a brain of fire and a heart of ice", and yet displayed Undying Loyalty to Robespierre, sticking with him even when it wasn't politically expedient, and at the night of Robespierre's downfall, amazed his captors with his total calm and composure in face of death. Historians generally see him as a figure of exceptional potential and ability, with some such as Jules Michelet (who disliked Robespierre) noting that had Saint-Just lived longer, Napoleon might have been averted:
    R. R. Palmer: This young man is one of the mysteries of the Revolution. He shot briefly across it, his time of prominence lasting less than two years, a flaming personality whose youth had been anything but promising, but whose mature years had he lived to attain them, might conceivably had rocked the world.
  • Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is a textbook example. A multimillionaire Chick Magnet who was often emotionally distant, intensely driven and passionately devoted to opposing both distinct status for his home province of Quebec and Quebec's separation from Canada, often uncaring of convention and popular opinion (whether support for Quebec nationalism or opposition to the promotion of French elsewhere in Canada), known for a long career as a public intellectual before going into politics and his flamboyant style (everything from wearing ascots and sandals in Parliament when everyone else wore suits to the Iconic Item of a rose in his lapel), Trudeau was passionately loved by some Canadians and passionately hated by others. His legacy is extremely controversial, but his impact on modern Canada is undeniable.
  • Vince McMahon fits this trope to a T. He's shown himself to be: An incredibly driven visionary who's crushed almost all his competitors and helped make wrestling into a cultural phenomenon; an obsessive loner Workaholic who sleeps only a few hours a night and structures his entire life around running his company; an obsessive Control Freak who micromanages every aspect of his company, even to the point of directing ring announcers during live shows; a Determinator who does what he wants and doesn't give a damn what his many, many critics have to say about him; a mercurial employer who can vary between being a very Bad Boss and a very supportive father to his workers; and a Non-Idle Rich man who will personally test out safety equipment and repeatedly get into brutal matches despite his advanced age, all to entertain the fans.

Alternative Title(s): Byronic Heroine


Example of: