In a recent post, Staci Troilo asked some interesting questions about Fictional Bad Boys. She was inspired by a post from Legends of Windermere where Charles postulated three questions relating to Fictional Bad Boys.
As my own love of fiction is anything to do with anti-heroes and bad boys, I couldn’t resist giving this topic a go. So, to answer the original three questions…
Who is your favourite ‘Bad Boy’ from fiction?
Long-time readers of my blog will know my fondness for anti-heroes (and fantasy in general) stems from the early love-of-my-life, fantasy bad boy, Raistlin Majere from the Dragonlance Chronicles. This brooding mage had it all; caustic sarcasm, a unique look, and the power to bring a world to its knees. Of course he also had a tragic redemption arc which only made him all the more lovable. But some of the bad things he did before treading the path to redemption were truly bad (abandoning his friends to die in a malestrom springs to mind). There’s no doubt he’s a bad boy… and a complicated boy to boot.
I’m going to give an honourary mention to my own bad boy – written for a fanfiction trilogy that will one day be modified into commercial fiction and published (yeah yeah, one day). Bad boy Rathe Decanius has the tragic past endemic in so many bad boys, and his modus operandi is to find his missing sister… at any cost. Unfortunately, as Rathe was raised and trained by a shadowy organisation to whom assassination, murder and intrigue was as ordinary as drawing breath, Rathe’s methods for finding his lost sister can be pretty harsh. He does some pretty bad things (intimidation, lying, murder, torture), but, like Raistlin, he has his own sense of morality and there is a gooey soft centre to the hard man outside… which brings me nicely to question two.
If you had to design a ‘Bad Boy’ what would be a necessity?
Well, in case you haven’t gathered from above, the necessity is morality. My bad boys have to have an unerring sense of morality (even if it’s their own skewed sense), that guides their every action. Raistlin did everything for power and what he thought would be the greater good (i.e. he’d become the God the world deserved). Rathe did everything he did for his sister (and deeper, to assuage the sense of guilt he had regarding events that lead to her capture). I don’t like a bad boy who’s bad just for the sake of it; there’s got to be a good heart underneath all that snark and vitriol.
Oh, and it doesn’t hurt for the bad boy to be good-looking too… just sayin’.
Why do you think the ‘Bad Boy’ is so appealing to audiences?
If I cite my own examples above, the reason the bad boy is so appealing, is because he doesn’t have to play by conventional, societal rules (like we do). He gets a free-pass to say and do those things we often want to say or do. But, deep at heart, we (the audience) are free to ‘root’ for him because of that sense of morality and deep – deep – goodness inside of him. Hence again – the morality thing is so important in our bad boys.
So, what do you think?