The monicker, used in Swordspoint to aptly describe one Lord David Campion has been stuck in my head for days. It has been lodged in association with Felix Harrogate, after reading the opening chapters of The Virtu, and it has brought on a case of speculation regarding characters and character archetypes.

Namely, I love those bastards.

Athos was my favorite Musketeer, not the golden D'Artagnan. But I have a feeling that, were I to reread those books today, Aramis would be coming up neck and neck to my troubled gentleman. Likewise, it is the Comte de Monte-Cristo who captures my imagination, not the young Edmond Dantes.

It is never the hero who attracts me, not in the classic sense. Harry Potter with his loving parents who died on his behalf, guided on your typical hero's journey toward the inevitable triumph (though not without proper amounts of sacrifice) is, to me, quite boring. It is, for that reason, I suspect, that while we spoiler! ) in A Song of Ice and Fire, it is Jaime and Tyrion Lannister who hold my affection, along with Jon Snow, who more spoiler! ).

It is easy to be a hero when you're Harry Potter. You might be scared out of your mind, but in your heart of hearts you know you're a good guy. You know that good is what you do, and you know that evil is something you can overcome.

But how much more meaningful is it when you're not said Harry Potter? When you're a kingslayer, a kinslayer, a guy who organizes bum fights, a runaway drugged-up academic, or a former child prostitute and an instrument of your own destruction? When you know that evil you've done, whether it served the greater good or not, is evil you've done, and you struggle to do better anyway?

The odd thing, I find, is that I can only think of one female character who fits into this archetype (Elizabeth Bear's Jenny Casey, of Hammered, etc). Why is that?

And who do you think of?
Okay, having finished reading The Mark of Zorro, I've taken some time to put together a general outline for the paper on how Batman's an extension of other masked vigilantes, and tCdMC. Further input is welcome, especially on Comte, as I haven't re-read that yet.

Shiny Preliminary Outline! )
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