The Adventure Hero

The Adventure Hero

The basis of an interesting character is his development from want to need. An interesting main character is also characterized by certain characteristics. In order for there to be conflicts, opposing traits have to clash. Traits duel each other between the main character and the opponent, but also within the main character. In the end, one characteristic wins over another. For example, an inexperienced, shy main character becomes a strong, experienced character. Captivating characters combine different character traits. But they also and above all possess contradictions. This leads to the fact that a character has to overcome himself internally.

In the field of adventure stories, there are character traits that promote adventure and those that hinder adventure. A character who is completely happy with himself and his environment does not want to take on an adventure. Either the environment has to change negatively or the character has to be different in order to embark on an adventure.

Many adventure characters suffer in their small tranquil world at first or have a shortage. Jake Sully lost both his legs in the film “Avatar” (2009) and suffers from it. The novel character Huckleberry Finn from “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1884) has a lack of knowledge and is undernourished. Luke Skywalker loses his uncle and aunt right in the first “Star Wars” movie (1977). A deficiency therefore leads to a character embarking on an adventure and leaving his ancestral home.

Among the main characters of an adventure story, there are those who have already had several adventures and those who do so for the first time. I refer to the former as “experienced heroes”, the latter as “inexperienced heroes”. An inexperienced hero is for example Huckleberry Finn and Luke Skywalker at the beginning of the adventure series. Experienced heroes are, for example, Jake Sully in “Avatar” and Luke Skywalker in his further adventures.

In adventure stories it is important to distinguish between the experienced and the inexperienced hero. Both types of heroes have specific characteristics …  

Forming a character with pairs of opposites 

The inexperienced heroes are usually supported by a helper figure from the beginning, whereas the experienced heroes always become helper figures from the beginning. For example, Luke Skywalker gets help from two robots right from the start. And Huckleberry Finn has Tom Sawyer as a helpful friend. The experienced and battle-hardened ex-soldier Jake Sully, on the other hand, is supposed to help a research team. And the experienced rescue pilot Ray Gaines tries to save his daughter in the film “San Andreas” (2015) after a severe earthquake.

The following character traits allow inexperienced heroes to be found and to be­ better defined by their opposites­ …

The inexperienced adventure hero

careful – reckless

inexperienced – masterly

timid – fearless

dreamy – realistic

stationary – free

depressed – happy

nervous – relaxed

The terms and characteristics on the left side stand for the inexperienced hero.

Experienced heroes, on the other hand, possess completely different characteristics, which can be easily limited by their opposites …

The experienced adventure hero

intrepid – shy

goal-oriented – directionless

experienced in combat – reserved

courageous – anxious

tricky – unimaginative

watchful – sleepy

curious – indifferent

calm – hasty

Again, the experienced adventure hero with his attributes can be found on the left side of the terms. You have now learned that an inexperienced hero usually develops into an experienced hero, and that experienced heroes must help others or overcome a bad trait.


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