45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters/Heroes
This is a summary of the Hero archetypes from 45 Master Classes: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters (see footnote on the index page, Master Characters). You can also find the Heroine archetypes on Master Character Heroines, and several additional types on Master Support Characters.
Also listed are the villainous versions of the Hero archetypes; the book goes into detail on how each heroic archetype can become a villainous archetype.
Compare Romance Genre Heroes.
The eight Hero archetypes are as follows:
- Apollo: The Businessman
- A logical, focused team player who is good at planning but poor at dealing with chaotic forces (including emotions and relationships).
- Ares: The Protector
- A physically oriented warrior who revels in competition and risk, defends his kin, fears nothing man can do to him - except losing the ability to fully use his body (paralysis would be death to him).
- Hades: The Recluse
- A sensitive introvert with a rich inner life, a dreamer and philosopher who shies from people; he might yearn for love or companionship but is at a loss as to how to get it.
- Hermes: The Fool
- A playful, carefree soul who enjoys his freedom and doesn't worry about consequences; he won't deliberately hurt others, but neither will he let himself be tied down to a relationship (and prison would be death to him).
- Dionysus: The Woman's Man
- A fun-loving, sensual man who can't relate to masculine pastimes but revels in the company of women, who helps the women around him to find courage and realize their own worth - although the Dionysus himself often feels flawed and may never find the perfect woman he seeks.
- Osiris: The Male Messiah
- A spiritual leader focused on his mission, willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good, bringing wisdom and transformation into the lives of those he passes.
- Poseidon: The Artist
- An emotionally volatile man who takes any criticism poorly (rejection is death to him); his behavior and reactions are not easily predicted, and even he may fear that he will harm those he loves.
- Zeus: The King
- A powerful leader, even a bit of a control-freak, who demands obedience and rises to any challenge, but sees emotions as weaknesses.
Their villainous versions are as follows:
- Apollo: The Traitor
- A disillusioned or cynical team player who feels he can do the work better than his boss and backstabs him or, contrastly, does evil in the name of his team, for the good of the team. The hero will either be the boss or a coworker that wasn't aware of his team's corruption and the Traitor's eager role in aiding it.
- Ares: The Gladiator
- A warrior more concerned with battle and war than sportsmanship and protection. He fights for no one but himself and his pleasure in fighting, and will often have a Kick the Dog moment where he picks war over peace with friends and family.
- Hades: The Warlock
- A secluded introvert whose lousy people skills cause him to hurt others. Where the positive side of this archetype would try to learn from his faux pas, the Warlock blames others for not understanding him. Also, a character who resents the people around him because of a social/political difference; in fantasy, the non-human who resents humans.
- Hermes: The Derelict
- A criminal who doesn't want to work within the parameters of law and decorum. He may think himself better than normal life, may have no problem with getting rich of people's weaknesses, or be too lazy/dumb to work a 5-to-9, so he steals instead.
- Dionysus: The Seducer
- He does not respect women or want to help them, only use them for sex. He sees every new conquest as a trophy for himself. He doesn't care about the consquences of his actions and often overindulges in other things.
- Osiris: The Punisher
- A Messiah without patience and compassion is a visionary who quickly realizes most people aren't as far-sighted as himself. Instead of working to teach other his ways, he pushes people into Sink or Swim Training from Hell at best. At worst, he kills anyone who doesn't match his ideals. He sees it as weeding out the weak, the job of the grim reaper incarnate.
- Poseidon: The Abuser
- Zeus: The Dictator
- Apollo the Businessman:
- Ares the Protector:
- Hades the Recluse:
- Can't think of a better example than Severus Snape.
- Fakir from Princess Tutu is a qualifier
- Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII and Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy VIII
- Kain Highwind from Final Fantasy IV possibly
- Shadow the Hedgehog could qualify, though he could fit some aspects of the Poseidon archetype as well
- Albert Einstein
- Miles Vorkosigan from Vorkosigan Saga is a combination of this and Businessman.
- Hermes the Fool:
- Dionysus the Woman's Man:
- Casanova was said to be this way - not using women for his own needs at the expense of theirs, but rather caring for them as individuals and helping them to achieve a greater sense of self-worth. Unfortunately, Casanova got stuck with such a Don Juan reputation that we even use his name for the Casanova trope.
- Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club
- Brock from Pokémon
- Ivan Vorputril in Vorkosigan Saga. He also is Best Friend to Miles.
- Osiris the Male Messiah:
- Jesus, obviously, and possibly Mahatma Gandhi.
- Optimus Prime; he sometimes overlaps with The King.
- Link from The Legend of Zelda
- Obi Wan and Luke Skywalker
- Harry Potter
- Naruto hands down
- Ashitaka of the Miyazaki classic Princess Mononoke
- Aragorn from Lord of the Rings
- Sora from Kingdom Hearts
- Kimba from Kimba the White Lion
- Poseidon the Artist:
- Zeus the King:
- Apollo the Traitor:
- Ares the Gladiator:
- Hades the Warlock:
- Hermes the Derelict:
- Dionysus the Seducer:
- Osiris the Punisher:
- Poseidon the Abuser:
- Tarantulas from Beast Wars
- Zeus the Dictator:
- Megatron in most incarnations
- Dr. Robotnik of the early 90s Sonic cartoon (also known as SATAM)
Comparing the Gender Roles
You can find this section on the Master Character Heroines page.
I'll put in this section later.
Here list examples of stories or series that play one type off another, so we can see how they interact:
- Ashitaka is a fine example of the Messiah archetype. He ends up changing the lives of many characters in the story, most importantly the life of his Love Interest San. Through their interactions, she is changed from a Gorgon into an Amazon (see the Master Heroines article for more information on these two archetypes).
- Shadow the Hedgehog's (a Recluse) encounter with Amy Rose (a Maiden) in Sonic Adventure 2 completely changes his mind about the worth of humanity and reminds him of the true promise he made with his friend Maria (another archetypal Maiden).
- While he is most definitely a Hermes, Sonic also has a bit of the Messiah archetype within him. While he does not necessarily develop, everyone he meets is forever affected by interaction with him. Notable examples are Tails and Amy Rose, both whom develop into heroes in their own right after being influenced by the blue blur.