Heroes — 7 x 7 Archetypes

So whether you’re telling a story, imparting a lesson, aspiring for greatness or borrowing traits as everyday heroes, start by looking at our litany of 49 hero archetypes and why heroes do what they do.

“To view popular culture (and our fictional heroes) as vulgar entertainment without deeper meaning or purpose, is to profoundly misapprehend the value and role of popular culture to civilization and to leadership. Put simply, through the practice of leadership, popular culture helps to both reinforce and question our understanding of who ‘we’ — both as individuals and as members of a civilization — are and what we should strive to become or accomplish as citizens, leaders and followers.” — Kristin M. S. Bezio, Leadership, Popular Culture, and Social Change,


Jung’s Archetypes — Source; Conor O’Neill
Heroine’s Journey — Source: HeroineJourneys.com (Victoria Lynn Schmidt)

“Archetypes are universal organizing themes or patterns that appear regardless of space, time, or person. Appearing in all existential realms and at all levels of systematic recursion, they are organized as themes in the unus mundus (one world).” John O’Brien, Psychological Perspectives

Hero Archetypes — 7x7

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Joseph Campbell

What Can You Take From the 7x7 Hero Archetypes

Superheroes offer an important reflection not only on our current society but also on our own cultural history... it’s no coincidence that the rise of the modern-day superhero occurred in 1930s America, in the depths of the Great Depression and on the eve of the second World War. Our same heroes have proven to be remarkably pliant and adaptable over the years, molding to fit the country’s political and social climate. It’s quite telling, for example, that it took until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s for Marvel to create its first African-American superhero, the Black Panther, and that one of Ms. Magazine’s first covers was an image of Wonder Woman in 1972, heralding the second-wave feminist movement. Suzanne Walker

The 7x7 Archetype Profiles — A Full Exploration

Heroes remind us not only of what we could be, but perhaps of what most of us have been, before whatever forces of disappointment led us to settle for less. Susan Neiman


“Love Your Perfume. What Is That, The Scent Of Death?” Harley Quinn

“The future is worth it. All the pain. All the tears. The future is worth the fight.” Martian Manhunter

(Groot makes a barrier from himself around the Guardians) Rocket: “No, Groot! You can’t. You’ll die. Why are you doing this? Why?” Groot: “We are Groot.” Guardians of the Galaxy

“Some battles are best fought with a sidekick.” Krista Ritchie

“Thanos is just the latest in a long line of bastards, and he will be the latest to feel my vengeance. Fate wills it so.” Thor

“All men have limits. They learn what they are and they learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.” Chuck Dixon

“The world is full of evil and lies and pain and death, and you can’t hide from it; you can only face it. The question is, when you do — How do you respond? Who do you become?” Phil Coulson, former director of S.H.I.E.L.D.

“No, it’s like, no matter how bad things get, there’s something good out there just over the horizon.” Hal Jordan, Green Lantern


“I want to die a natural death at the age of 102 — like the city of Detroit.” Deadpool

“After a while you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are.” Shrek

“Telepaths know thoughts. Empaths feel feelings. Emotions.” Mantis, Guardians of the Galaxy

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” Albus Dumbledore

“The Fantastic Four has never given up hope before … We’re not stopping now. If there’s a way out of this, so help me — — I’ll find it.” Reed Richard, Fantastic Four

“You will make my strength your own, and see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine. The son becomes the father, and the father the son. This is all I can send you, Kal-El.” Jor-El, Superman’s father

“Everybody in here keeps saying that I’m sane. What if they’re wrong?” David Haller/Legion


“And whatever he did, he always fell back onto this paradox at the core of his thought. To remain in paradise and become a demon! To re-enter hell and become an angel!” Jean Valjean, Les Misérables

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Joseph Campbell

“Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn’t mean they can’t be saved.” Professor Charles Xavier

“I know they say your best friends won’t tell you — but, geez, Spidey, forget about deodorants — have you considered Lysol?!” Human Torch to Spiderman

“I stare in the mirror as I try to remember who I am and who I am not.” Katniss Everdeen

“The strength of this country isn’t in buildings of brick and steel. It’s in the hearts of those who have sworn to fight for its freedom! ” Captain America

“I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass.The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.” Gandalf


“You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.” Han Solo

“There are still many human emotions I do not fully comprehend — anger, hatred, revenge. But I am not mystified by the desire to be loved — or the need for friendship. These are things I do understand.” Lt. Cmdr. Data

“The signal goes on and he shows up. That’s the way it’s been, that’s the way it will be. Anything else about the man I couldn’t tell you.” Commissioner Gordon

“Heroes are made by the path they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” Iron Man

“With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” Uncle Ben, Spiderman’s Uncle

“Soldiers, when committed to a task, can’t compromise. It’s unrelenting devotion to the standards of duty and courage, absolute loyalty to others, not letting the task go until it’s been done.” John Keegan

“The Prime Directive is not just a set of rules. It is a philosophy, and a very correct one. History has proved again and again that whenever mankind interferes with a less developed civilization, no matter how well-intentioned that interference may be, the results are invariably disastrous.” Captain Jean-Luc Picard


Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, and what are you? Reply “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.” Tony Stark, Iron Man

“Maybe the real reason I became the Hulk…was to protect the world from Banner.” The Hulk

“You will not apply my precept,” he said, shaking his head. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door, the window, or the chimney. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room, as there is no concealment possible. When, then, did he come?” Sherlock Holmes

“While often viewed as the oppressed, disenfranchised, the losers of society, outsiders also claim a particular sense of power. They are frequently individuals who have chosen to step outside the accepted rules of society” Elizabeth Steding

“Because improbable tragedies create improbable superheroes.” — Fredrik Backman

“There’s glory and honour in being chosen. But not much room for free will.” Elizabeth Wein

“Without god everything is allowed.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky,


“And how do you know the angels and the Devil inside me aren’t the same things?” Matt Murdock, Daredevil

“I don’t believe in fate. I believe in choices” Ray Palmer, The Atom

“Because improbable tragedies create improbable superheroes.” Fredrik Backman

“Gimli: Never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an Elf. Legolas: What about side by side with a friend? Gimli: Aye. I could do that.” Lord of The Rings, The Return of the King

“The Dark Arts are many, varied, ever-changing and eternal. Fighting them is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating, indestructible.” Severus Snape

“The world is changing. Soon there will only be the conquered and the conquerors. You are a good man, with a good heart. And it’s hard for a good man to be a king.” — King T’Chaka

“Maybe you haven’t seen the world, Elliot, but I have, and trust me, it’s garbage. People lie, and they hurt each other. And they wear these things on their feet called Crocs.” Rita Farr, Elastin Woman, Doom Patrol


“There are three key factors which lend themselves to the establishment of vigilantism: first, dissatisfaction with present levels of order and justice; second, experience and awareness of such actions elsewhere and thirdly a pre-existing social and cultural template.” Gavin Weston

“Essentially, the mercenary sets morality aside, or at best reorders the customary structures to fit the needs of his way of life. The great issues become how well he does his job, how faithfully he carries out his commission, how well he adheres to a standard demanding unswerving loyalties to his comrades. He dehumanizes the world outside the bounds of his outfit. Then anything he does, or witnesses, becomes of minor significance as long as its brunt is borne outside the Company.” Glen Cook

“I’m the only one who can walk in both worlds. I’m the Ghost Rider.” Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider

“They just me before they know me.. that’s why I am better off alone.”

“One could ask any person with feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing — or the person can ask himself or herself — “in what way do you hate yourself?” The more a person understands his or her self-loathing, the bette prepared he or she is to start to address it. Facing it, addressing it, and fighting it, despite all the barriers the self-loathing person puts up against it — now that’s heroic.” Mark D. White

“It’s Not Who I Am Underneath, But What I Do, That Defines Me.” Batman

“Theres always a need for new superheroes. As society changes, the types of superheroes will probably change as well.” — Matt Bomer


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Making Sense of the World’s Biggest Challenges & Next Grey Swans — curating and creating knowledge through observation, informed futurism, and analysis🦢