Why Do We Like Damon Salvatore?

Any one familiar with Vampire Diaries, either with the book or the TV soap would know what I mean. Damon Salvatore is the anti-hero in the story. He is vile, ruthless, merciless and takes advantage of people's weaknesses. He is a BAD vampire. Yet, we love him. Why?

There are many other such examples in the books/movies we read - Severus Snape of HP, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, Shylock of Merchant of Venice. A few of them, but we have rooted for them in the books. We shouldn't have. Afterall, they are the villians in the story. They are bad and mean. What makes them special?

A redeeming act - Often our anti-heroes have one or more weak spots that endears to us. Because of that one weakness, they do good things that normally a hero does. We call it their redeeming act. It redeems them from their bad future.
For example, Damon Salvatore is a bad vampire but his redeeming act was his love for Elena. He would do good things for her, even if it means he dies. Similarly, Severus Snape's redeeming act was his allegiance to Albus Dumbledore even though he was a dark wizard.  He loved Harry's mother even if she rejected him. He would do good things for her even after she died.

Also, most often this one redeeming act would be something that our hero would be incapable of. It is unique to the anti-hero and this helps the reader feel connected to him.

It is not necessary to have an anti-hero in our books (it adds to the tension though). If you have and you want your readers to like him/her then do not forget to put in the redeeming factor. Make him save a cat or a dog or the heroine herself, but make him save something. Then lie back, relax and watch the interesting competition between our hero and anti-hero. Most often, the anti-hero wins. Like Damon Salvatore!

Who are your favorite anti-heroes? What makes you like them so much?


  1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE Damon! He's my favourite character in The Vampire Diaries, even though I've only watched the show and never read any of the books. x)

    To be honest, I actually tend to like ALWAYS the anti-hero best! I don't know what it is about a bad-boy-who-is-actually-good, but I just adore them with all my heart!

    The whole "redeeming act" thing is really interesting! I've never thought of it that way before! :)

  2. Haha...same here. They are more spicy than the good boys. But I think no one can beat Damon. He is as bad in the book as he is in the TV show! :D

  3. I LOVE me a good anti-hero! They are always so interesting. I never thought about the fact that their one redeeming act should be something the hero would be incapable of. I'm plotting a new book right now-- I'm definitely going to have to have an anti-hero in it.


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