I love reluctant heroes. Those men who just want to live their ordinary lives but find themselves in situations that require them to step up and be more. There are some great examples in classic movies.
Gary Cooper in High Noon, Cary Grant in North By Northwest, James Garner in Support Your Local Sheriff, and Gregory Peck in Big Country.
A more recent example is Malcolm Reynolds from the TV series Firefly. He fought the Browncoats and now his idealism has been shattered. He wants to look out for his own interest, but time after time he’s hooked while traveling around in his ship by someone who needs his help.
But one of my favorite reluctant heroes can be found in The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale. S. T. Maitland was once a legendary highwayman. Now he’s a wreck of a man until Lady Leigh Strachan seeks his help in getting revenge on her enemy. Their journey together forces him to remake himself into a man better than he was before. I actually have a quote from this book on my wall, and it holds all the emotion and angst and heartbreaking self examination this man goes through in his desire to be worthy of this woman he’s come to love. It still makes me vibrate every time I read it.
“He found the extent of his courage in that wait. And it was mortifying.”
Okay, so share. Do you have any favorite reluctant heroes or heroines in literature or on film?