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The Hero
aka: The Heroine

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This trope is under discussion in the Trope Repair Shop.
He's Luke Skywalker. He's here to rescue you.
"He will face the fiercest foe
when another needs his aid,
He will dare to defy Death
even though he is afraid,
He works not just for glory
and he does it not for gain,
But because he knows that others
will be spared a greater pain."
Quest for Glory II: Trial By Fire

The Hero is a character who overcomes adversity and challenges by performing great acts that demonstrate their strength (physical or mental), ingenuity, and valor. In modern works, heroes are also often the primary source of goodness in the story or will fight on its behalf against a Big Bad. In contrast, heroes of classical works frequently engaged in heroics to protect their honor, pride, and vanity, as past societies put much stock into such values. In this classical conception, being The Hero was more about accomplishing some great feat against a worthy opponent, rather than upholding and protecting some noble intention.

While The Hero is often The Protagonist and The Leader, these tropes are not the same. The Protagonist is the principal character of the story who drives the plot forward. The Hero tends to be The Protagonist (see Hero Protagonist) just because baked into the hero's definition is a forward-moving, basic narrative structure (hero faces some challenge and has to figure out a way to overcome it). The Leader, on the other hand, is simply a character who sits at the head of some group or organization. Often times The Hero will be The Leader because idealized versions of The Hero and The Leader share many of the same traits (strong, resilient, righteous, noble, proactive, morally upstanding, well-liked, charismatic, confident, brave, etc.), making The Hero a logical choice in the narrative to also be The Leader. That said, not all heroes are The Leader and not every example of The Leader is also The Hero.

See the list below for variations on this archetype and place all examples under one of these subtropes. For other tropes about or related to The Hero, see Hero Tropes.

No examples, please. This only defines the term.

Prominent Variations of The Hero:


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Heroine, Heroic Archetype


Iron Man

Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark was a billionaire industrialist, a founding member of the Avengers, and the former CEO of Stark Industries. A brash but brilliant inventor, Stark was self-described as a genius, billionaire, playboy, and philanthropist. With his great wealth and exceptional technical knowledge, Stark was one of the world's most powerful men following the deaths of his parents and enjoyed the playboy lifestyle for many years until he was kidnapped by the Ten Rings in Afghanistan, while demonstrating a fleet of Jericho missiles. With his life on the line, Stark created an armored suit which he used to escape his captors. Upon returning home, he utilized several more armors to use against terrorists, as well as Obadiah Stane who turned against Stark. Stark enjoyed the fame that came with his new secret identity and decided to share it with the world, publicly revealing himself as Iron Man.

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