Last week I read a book where the protagonist did the usual Hollywood good-guy thing where he refused to kill the antagonist because that would be bad, I guess. All while watching how the baddie killed hundreds and possibly thousands of innocents all around him. Not to mention all the suffering and death he caused leading up to that confrontation. But no, watching hundreds of civilians get slaughtered while trying to talk the villain down is okay as long as MC doesn’t tarnish his fickle morality by killing someone. I mean, at which point can a hero say “you know what, you deserve to die”?

And while seething in a lot more anger about stupid MCs than is justified, I was thinking about MCs that are realist enough to actually pull the figurative trigger on a villain. There aren’t that many that I can think of. Even those who are supposedly “villains” are villains in title alone. It’s like finding a unicorn when you stumble upon a MC who actually kills a named character. After all, we already established that an infinite number of unnamed civillians/henchmen doesn’t count when it comes to hero morality. Cutting through 100 nameless hired guards who are only doing their jobs is okay as long as MC realizes that he isn’t that guy just when he towers over the defeated mega villain.

What’s your stance on those heroes? Do you have good examples? Bad ones?