Hero Bashing

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See also: You Big Bully - Rachael Sabotini, Grovelfic, Accusation Fic
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Hero Bashing is something of a mixture of both character bashing and the tall poppy syndrome[1]: the hero (in the classic Joseph Campbell sense) is the canonical center of attention, the focus of the show, and thus needs to be taken down. Only then can the playing field be level, and secondary characters can come into their own.

The leveling mechanisms used are pretty similar across fandoms. The talking points are usually along the lines of: the hero is uptight and whiny; the hero is moralistic and judgmental; the hero uses the people around him/her and doesn't really care about them; the hero is self-centered, selfish, and arrogant; the hero puts themselves and their beliefs first; the hero always gets their way, the hero is "weak" for having doubts or getting emotional about a situation.

A good chunk of the time, shipping plays a big role in the bashing. A hero who is canonically paired or implied to be in love with a character the fans prefer with someone else is often treated as "in the way" of the fan-preferred pairing hooking up.

Common targets of Hero Bashing

Hero Bashing in meta

Like character bashing, entire communities and archives have formed around cutting the hero down to size, which in turn created groups such as the Duncansluts or Jimbabes, fans who reacted by supporting the hero character. Sometimes the types of attacks on the hero were so frequent and so standard that generic defense letters were created.[2]

Hero Bashing in fiction

In fanfiction, as opposed to nonfiction canon analysis and discussion, Hero Bashing can result in both grovelfic and apologyfic, where the heroes must abase themselves to other, more preferred characters in order to display the proper amount of humility for being at the center of the show's attention. Frequently, the task of teaching the hero the error of his/her ways is handed to an OFC, who then gets to monologue and explain at length why the hero is so, so wrong in his approach to friendship and his world view. (Also frequently, this character shares many traits with a Mary Sue and can result in accusations of Issuefic, definition 2.)

Hero Bashing in slash

In slash fiction, especially in fandoms with one main pairing, there is an ongoing tension between fans of the hero character and fans of the sidekick character. Hero bashing happens at the same time as Wussification of the sidekick and the two go often hand in hand.


  1. Tall Poppy Syndrome on Wikipedia
  2. Duncan Defense Form Letter (accessed October 26, 2008)