- Deadpool. Absolutely Deadpool. I think a lot of anti-heroes have a reputation of being way too serious, but Deadpool is anything but. He’s absolutely crass, constantly toeing the line between offense and humor. I also love how his humor breaks through the fourth wall. He’s absolutely insane, definitely morally gray, but still weirdly relatable.
- V. I feel like V falls in the more serious side of anti-hero characterization (although he does have a certain gritty humor to him). You’re really called to question if he’s fighting for his cause in an ends justify the means sort of way or if he’s just insane.
- Curtis. Oh man, Snowpiercer was one of my favorite films from last year and perhaps one of my favorite things about it was seeing Chris Evans playing someone who is such a contrast to Steve Rogers. Everything about Curtis is grim from his current situation to the backstory that brought him to that position, and at the climax of the film, when his trust and morals have shattered once more, you really don't know what he's going to choose.
- Grendel. This one really doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read Grendel by John Gardner, which adds an insane amount of characterization to the monster that terrorized Beowulf. The humanization he undergoes, while it completely doesn’t justify his actions, leads a sympathy to his situation that seems really key to anti-heroes.
- Don Quijote. I feel like I’ve gone super dark with this list, so I’m going to end it on a lighter note. Don Quijote is absolutely not your typical hero, and although he’s not morally gray, his sense of reality (or lack thereof) propels him into the anti-hero territory and a parody of the traditional hero in chivalric romances.
When making this list, I was really dismayed not to have many female characters come to mind. I feel like we more readily cast female characters into good vs. evil categories without allowing them the possibility to be morally gray, but then again, I could also be missing some really obvious ones (I suppose from some angles characters like Katniss and Tris can be seen as anti-heroes). Who are some of your favorite anti-heroes? Since the definition of anti-hero varies so much, I always love to hear arguments that allow me to see characters in completely different lights.
The Goodreads group for T5W (as well as the topics and the book bloggers and booktubers who participate) can be found here.