Heroes in Fiction

What makes a hero? Is it their virtuous and brave actions, their motivations, their personalities or their results? We believe it is a mixture - and we have compiled a list of the top ten heroes in literature!

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Robin Hood
- The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

An outlaw who cared little for those in power, Robin Hood was the 'steal from the rich, give to the poor' hero who taught us sometimes protective the weak and challenging corrupt systems could still look suave in tights.
A skilled swordsman and archer, Hood put his talents to virtuous good as he set up camp in a forest with a handful of friends with the aim to restore the land to proper order. He acts as a shield and provider to the poor and sick, standing up against tyranny and injustices as the best of heroes should!​

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Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Series

Admittedly, Hermione also has a good claim to the 'hero' title, but we had to give this one to Harry. The bewildered protagonist, Harry has a hard upbringing as a mistreated, unloved orphan, yet faces dangers and challenges with little thought to his own safety to help another.
Though not immune to the immaturity of male adolescence, Harry possesses a strong moral compass and ability to love wholeheartedly - and it doesn't hurt he is a dab hand at the whole magic thing. Defeating He Who Must Named and other such nefarious enemies every year is no easy task for a growing boy but Harry steps up each time.

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Katniss Everdeen
- The Hunger Games

If a character volunteers to sacrifice her life for another in the opening chapters of a first book, you know you have a hero on your hands. Katniss possesses inner strength, a striking archery skillset and survival instincts from the beginning, but it is her growing savviness and aptitude for working a corrupt system that stands her apart.
By the time she eventually steps into her role as the leader of the rebellious forces, Katniss has experienced loss, pain and deep injustices yet she never takes a pause. A powerful bulldoser of a young girl, there's a reason they call her the Girl on Fire.

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Lisbeth Salander
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

An underdog hero, Lisbeth has real and dangerous threats on her heels throughout her narrative but she is able to keep ahead against the odds thanks to her cunning, computing skills and raw resilience.
The men who would hope to dominate her small frame and lack of power come to realise they are outwitted by her extraordinary intelligence, and she makes justice rain down on those deserving. Not your traditional hero, but one of the best ever penned into literature.

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Atticus Finch
- To Kill A Mocking Bird

Though guilty of the 'white saviour' troupe, taking Atticus Finch within the social setting of the novel allows you to admire the person he was at his core. At a time when racism encouraged, defending a black man who was wrongly accused of a vile crime was still considered outrageous.
When it would have been easier and expected to let the injustice go unchallenged, Finch defied his own society, threw away his own reputation and suffered the backlash all to help an innocent person who was powerless. He is a hero for the novel's time period for stepping into the firing line by challenging the norms that were morally wrong.

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Nancy Drew
- The Nancy Drew Series

A role model for girls everywhere, Nancy remains to this day a cultural icon proving that age and gender means nothing when it comes to being a hero. She was the detective sleuth who used her smarts and determination to solve mysteries others were quick to forget and she is remembered for her resourcefulness and independent attitude.
There is a reason she has had many interpretations on the big and small screens, introducing her to new audiences. Paired with her readiness to help and her lovable personality, she is worthy of the title!

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Odysseus
- The Odyssey

Perhaps the most classical hero on this list, Odysseus' story is one of legend.
For years, he voyages through treacherous journeys, faces deadly foes and overcomes immense challanges with his strengh and skill as a warrier and his ingenuity. Remember the Trojan House? That was his idea! He also remains loyal, faithful and true to his wife and son, using his desire to return home to them as fuel to keep him going.
Unlike the demigod Heracles who could only be admired by the Greeks, Odysseus was written to be flawed, and therefore relatable, yet still is a hero among men.

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Lancelot
- Arthurian Legend

King Arthur's bravest and most trusted knight, Lancelot repeatedly saved the day and arguably did more than his king or fellow knights could in their quests.
Renowned for being the personification of bravery and the guy you would want fighting by your side, he almost lived a fully admirable life. He is considered a 'flawed hero' as his inability to control himself with Queen Guinevere, Arthur's wife, mars his otherwise stellar character. But does that mean we can dismiss his numerous acts of courage and loyalty? That is up for you to decide.

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The Prince
- The Little Prince

Perhaps an odd choice, the Prince is described as a 'wisp' of a boy and might not immediately stand out as belonging among the Robin Hoods of the world. However, throughout his story he displays unrelenting bravery and a readiness to explore.
Most noticeable is his curiousity and willingness to be taught, though not letting the corrupt characters he encounters sway him away from his responsible and measured view of the world. The prince loves freely, unafraid to be vulnerable and shows kindness even when it is not deserved. We all want to be so pure!

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Bilbo Baggins
-The Hobbit

Not Frodo? Bilbo's nephew may have a cluster of heroic acts under his belt, but it is the original hobbit who deserves the recognition. Often fighting alone, Bilbo is our reluctant protagonist stepping out of his comfort zone to go on an adventure where he defeats or outwits far stronger opponents.
Bilbo consistently chooses to do the right thing with no real belief from those around him, but has a great deal of self-growth to tackle as he does so. He is relatable yet admirable - and we all wanted to be him 'going on an adventure'!

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