December 5, 2011

The Mighty Archetype: Good Guys Gone Bad

Good Guys Gone Bad - These are the ones who break your heart.

Exhibit A: Phoenix from the Marvel Universe

*Official art*
        When Jean Grey apparently died saving the rest of her team from a shuttle crash, she emerged from the depths of the ocean in X-Men #101 as The Phoenix, an incredibly powerful being.
        She maintains her new power level as a hero for about two years, before the Hellfire Club starts messing with her mind, guiding her toward, for lack of a better term, the dark side. (Source.)


Exhibit B: Chun-Woo Han from The Breaker

*Official art by illustrator Jin-Hwan Park*
        Also known as Goomoonryong, or "Nine Arts Dragon," he had some ambiguous morals, but he always pulled through in the end, including nearly getting himself killed a couple times to protect his pupil. But when the girl he's been pretending not to be in love sacrifices herself for him (and he fails to save her), it pushes him over the edge. He abandons his pupil and sets out for revenge. Now every time I see him, I cry great big, ugly tears ;_; (but I have hope he'll return to his senses by the end... *hopehopehope*)

So, as you can see, the transformation from good to evil can be a result of both external and internal causes. Maybe the character gets captured and fitted with a device like Sam's watch in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which forces him to betray his friends and comrades. Or maybe making the "wrong" decision becomes the right one in order to save someone important. Or, like Chun-Woo (and Riku from Kingdom Hearts or Sasuke from Naruto), maybe he's always had a little bit of darkness inside him, and all it took was a compelling push to cross the line.

It hurts most when, like Chun-Woo, the character starts out perfectly likable. He's flawed and kind of shallow, but he's a good person. Readers grow to love him, to see him as their security blanket for how insanely kickass he is and how he always pulls through. So when something happens and the light switches, it's devastating. If you can do that to your readers, you're doing something right :) (and they might hate you for it, but that might be okay too lol)

So what do you guys think? Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight would also be a great example of this archetype! Who else fits?



Previous posts in the archetype series:
1: Broody Jerks with Hearts of Gold
2: The Hero Who Hides Behind a Smile
3: The Goofy Guy Who Secretly Kicks Ass
4: The Designated Psychopath
5: The Mad Scientist
6: The Child Prodigy

Have a great week!
 

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