I chose one of my favorite fictional heroes, and one fictional villain. I chose each of them, because they taught me something specific. You might be surprised at why they made this very short list!
First up, from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, is the Dragon Reborn, Rand Al’thor. I chose Rand for the hero in this article, though he’s also done some pretty terrible things along the way. Rand had great power thrust on him by the pattern itself. He didn’t choose to be the Dragon, or fight sightblinder in the Last Battle. Rand is also a redhead like me, but that was a bonus point rather than my first consideration.
Ultimately, I chose Rand because his motive is the purest I can believe in. He did the right thing because it was right. Not to rule the world. He didn’t believe in a divine right because of an accident of his birth. Rand had the biggest fight of all time to get ready for, and no time to ask people to help. He forged a united front out of broken and far flung lands to take the field against Shaitan’s army. Rand never intended to lead that force. All he wanted was to end the threat of the Dark One and his Forsaken.
Next up, a villain! I chose Ozymandias, Adrian Alexander Veidt, from Allen Moore’s and Dave Gibbon’s Watchmen. The comics and movie versions are close enough. Adrian could be viewed as an anti-hero. I reject that idea based on the lengths he went to in order to out maneuver Dr. Manhattan. Adrian is the opposite of Rand in almost every way.
He has no powers, but is exceptionally smart, and the pinnacle of human physical fitness. Adrian chose his path to greatness. Although he inherited a large estate from his parents, he gave it to charity. He built a new life for himself without his family’s wealth. As Ozymandias, he gained fame using his abilities to fight crime. Before the Keene Act made masked crime fighting illegal, Adrian retired and monetized his heroic alter ego. This was the source of his fortune rather than inherited wealth.
Adrian’s master plan was to save humanity from destroying itself though nuclear annihilation. His major obstacle was Dr. Manhattan, a being of godlike power who could stop his plan at any time. Adrian used advanced technology, secrecy, murder, and deception to prevent Manhattan from undoing his carefully executed plan for world peace through fear. The ends justified the means for Adrian, and for me, this is why he makes such a great villain.