Monday, February 24, 2014

Rogues: Who prefers the bad boys?

I've always liked Robin Hood more than King Arthur, Han Solo more than Luke Skywalker--and I'd take Ranger over Joe Morelli, too, not to mention Phillippe Gaston from Ladyhawke over the faithful knight.  And everyone likes Jack Sparrow better than...what was his name?  Some people will say that it’s the rebel appeal of the outlaw, some will say it’s the “I could reform him” syndrome...and maybe there’s truth in both those theories.  But for me...I like a practical man.  I like a man who confronted with a daring quest is more likely to say, “Are you out of your mind?” than “Onward, my brave men.”

And then there’s the whole class of “noblemen in disguise.”  Does their exercise of trickery and deceit let Zorro and the Scarlet Pimpernel count as rogues, even if they aren’t criminal criminals?  By their own society’s rules they were committing crimes—hence all those masks and disguises.

Or is “a rogue” simply defined by their wonderfully irreverent attitude?  One of my favorite rogues is the pooka in Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, in which the dark and bright fey are fighting a war for the city if Minneapolis.  The pooka and a water sprite go to recruit the female leader of a rock band to fight on the side of the bright fey...and they don’t care at all that she’s not interested in being recruited.  When she threatens to call the police, the pooka says, “Summon your police.  What will you tell them when they come, and find a dog and a pool of water?”  Like I said, practical.

But who are some of the fictional rogues who’ve won your heart?  And why?  I sent this question to the Inkies, and received a veritable rogue’s gallery—and found several titles I want to try!

From Dawn Metcalf:
Skif from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books.
Aragorn from LoTR.
Cat from Joan D. Vinge's Catspaw.
Cassandra Clare's irreverent Will from the Infernal Devices series.
Almost everyone in Neil Gaiman's ANANSI BOYS (although "Low Key" is probably tops).

From Ron Smith:
How about the bad girls?
Arya Stark, Game of Thrones
Celaena Sardothien, Throne of Glass
Tank Girl!
Lisbeth Salander, Dragon Tattoo

From Ellen Booraem:

Roiben in Holly Black’s Modern Faery Tale trilogy. He has that unbeatable combination of arrogance, intelligence, and damaged soul.

From Lena Coakley:
For me it all goes back to Heathcliff, the original rogue. (In fact, he is based on a character from the Brontes' early writings called Alexander Rogue.) Although Heathcliff is a truly despicable person, there is one pure thing about him, his love for Catherine.

From Amy Butler Greenfield:
Yes. And speaking of original rogues, I'll put in a word for Henry Crawford
in Mansfield Park. Not a good match for Fanny, it's true, but it would be a
mighty tedious book without Henry's wit and flair for all things dramatic.

From Erin Cashman:
Aragon from LOTR is my favorite - but how about Gansey from The Raven Boys?
And I like the idea of a girl rogue post - I love Ismae from Grave Mercy!

From Lia Keyes:

Robin Hood/Robin Goodfellow/Puck. The original lovable rogue. :)

From Miriam Forster:

Loooove Skif. And don't forget George Cooper from Tamara Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet.
Speaking of girl rouges, I just finished season one of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, (based on the books by Kerry Greenwood) and if Phryne Fisher isn't a (admittedly wealthy) rouge, I don't know who is. :)

From Keely Parrack:
For some reason the only one that springs to mind is 'The Artful Dodger!'
If Oliver Twist can be called fantasy?

Any others?


  1. Amen to whoever said Henry Crawford. Fanny's actual love interest is super boring and lame, and I just want him to shut up whenever he starts talking.

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